She’s got model girl looks – and her mum’s determined to make her dreams come true.
As a baby Stephanie Brown was covered from head to toe in itchy red spots.
But now – coming up to her seventh birthday – Stephanie’s condition is under control and she’s glowing with health.
Stephanie, of Mirfield, has Diffuse Cutaneous Mastocytosis, or Masto for short, and a doctor once told mum Maria: “Your daughter will be able to do whatever she wants in life but she’ll never make a model.”
Those words have both haunted – and inspired – Maria, 43, who is determined to prove the medic wrong.
After Stephanie’s story was told in the Examiner in August, a national women’s magazine contacted the family and offered them £1,000 to pay for a professional photoshoot.
Stephanie took to the studio with Ben Walmsley at Nest Photography in Mirfield and the result is a stunning portfolio of pictures which Maria hopes will land a modelling job.
“All I want is for Stephanie to do some modelling, even as a one off, so we can just show the doctor he was wrong,” said Maria. “I would love to see Stephanie doing a catalogue or some kids’ modelling, that’s my aim.
“She loved doing the photoshoot and it’s done her confidence the world of good.”
Stephanie’s condition means her body produces too many ‘mast’ cells, rare blood cells formed in the bone marrow to aid in fighting off illness and infection.
When the cells went into overdrive her body became covered in unsightly red hives.
Stephanie’s condition has been stabilised with medication but stress can still trigger an attack.
When Stephanie’s condition was at its worst the family was refused entry onto a holiday plane and other mums fled a shop when Maria and Stephanie came in, fearing she was contagious.
Stephanie and two-year-old sister Gracie took part in the photoshoot and Maria said: “The pictures are fantastic and we are over the moon with the results.
“I think Stephanie is beautiful and that’s maternal bias but when Ben saw the final photographs he couldn’t believe how photogenic she is.”
Maria and husband Nigel, 46, are to use the pictures to create some extra special Christmas presents this year.
Maria hopes to raise awareness of the condition and the UK Mastocytosis Support Group now has charitable status. For more information see www.ukmasto.org