SheLift: It's working!
Just as I was sitting down to a pad of paper and markers – racking my brain on something poppy and pretty to populate the SheLift instagram account with – I received a text message that stopped me in my tracks.
A little over a year ago a woman named Sarah reached out to me on Instagram, sharing an image that forever changed my life. The photo was of her six-year old daughter Claire. She had bright blonde hair, big blue eyes, and was sitting in an oversized chair. She was also missing her left arm from the elbow down. The little girl could have easily been mistaken for me if the shot was taken 20 years earlier. But when I looked closer, I realized Claire was holding an iPhone with a picture of me displayed on it. Excited but slightly bewildered, I read the accompanying caption hastily. And then again.
“For the first time in her life, Claire came to me tonight in tears, sad because she is different than the other kids in her school. She said that she felt ugly and wanted to have two hands like everybody else. She said “There’s no body else in the world like me…” I felt like crying with her, but instead I googled pictures of […] Sarah Herron and now she is convinced she will grow up to be just as beautiful.”
At this point the concept of SheLift was still a figment of my imagination. After seeing this post however, I knew it was time to take action. I thought of all the ways I could connect with Claire and her mom, grasping that it was more important than ever to bridge the gap for girls who so badly needed connection. A few months later SheLift launched and now, one year later, we've connected over 10 girls to one another. To celebrate the one year anniversary we hosted a photoshoot in Los Angeles where girls with limb difference ranging from 7 to 27 years old got to meet each other and bond over their beautiful commonality (photos coming in August). Claire and her mom made the trip from South Carolina to join us for the special day as did several girls who attended our ski retreat last March. Kim was one the many older girls to leave a lasting impression on Claire. Kim, who’s 26 and from Chicago, spent some QT with the younger girls, taking selfies, playing with their hair, and telling lots of jokes. The time spent between younger and older girls was nothing short of magical to witness, and a sure sign the mission of SheLift was working!
Tonight, Claire’s mom sent me a message that affirmed everthing:
“I had to share this... my heart is so happy. Kim sent Claire a tutorial on how to put her hair in a ponytail! Claire has been practicing and practicing, and she finally got it tonight! Thank you for making this connection.”
Receiving this message left me in complete body chills. Knowing that the girls have formed life-long relationships across the country is the greatest impact I could have ever hoped for. A humbling reminder that heart-felt screen-grabs often make better Instagram posts than flashy graphics and color schemes :)
To see how awesome Kim is, follow her on Instagram!
Claire is still 7, so we’re going to respect her and her mom’s privacy.
To learn more about SheLift or show your support, visit SheLift.org