My daughter Zoe is a bubbly, outgoing four year old who loves ballet, music, and swimming. Like most four year olds, her interests change all the time - right now, her favourite movie is Frozen. She loves school and has lots of friends.
Zoe also has Treacher Collins Syndrome.
When Zoe was diagnosed with TCS, our number one priority, along with accessing the best medical treatment, was to give her the tools she needs to feel strong, beautiful, and confident.
Our family moved not long ago to a small community and we have made sure to be out at events and activities as much as possible. We want people to know Zoe as Zoe, not as the little girl with the facial difference.
If we’re out in public and someone is staring, she will often go up to them and say “Hi, I'm Zoe.” It’s amazing what that one little phrase does to disarm people’s assumptions and change the atmosphere. Everyone has the right to be curious about her facial difference and we encourage questions and conversation, not staring and whispers.
Our school and community have been incredibly supportive. Even so, when Zoe started kindergarten my fear of what she would experience was greater than it was before her two surgeries.
That’s why I wanted Zoe and I to be part of the Beyond My Face video. We need to teach people that different isn’t negative. Different is natural and different is powerful.
99% of people we come across are wonderful…but it’s the 1% who leave the scars. They’re the ones we have to work on.
Zoe is confident. She is charismatic. She is joyful.