8-year-old boy with a disability becomes successful wheelchair model


This young boy has been dominating the runway!

Charming Colton Robinson, from Massachusetts, US, has already wheeled his way down the New York Fashion Week catwalk twice – and even modelled for the well-known designer, Tommy Hilfiger.

At birth, the eight-year-old boy was declared one of the ‘worst’ spina bifida cases his doctors had ever seen.

Spina bifida is a birth defect, specifically a neural tube defect, that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“We were called into a room and told Colton had spina bifida, at first I was completely devastated not knowing what would happen to my child,” says his mom Ashley.

“The internet is a scary place, so when you google you only hear the worst-case scenarios, I remember feeling lost and unsure about what to do.

“I remember them showing us a picture and saying it was one of the worst cases they’d seen in a long time.”

His legs arched up towards his head and his spine protruded from his back.

The little boy underwent surgery to repair his back when he was just a day old, and six months later he had an operation to drain fluid from his brain.

To straighten his legs and feet, he’s regularly put into casts but the resilient youngster has always figured a way around his disability.

Since participating in NYFW and charity catwalks with Runway of Dreams – a non-profit organisation – Colton has grabbed every opportunity to model.

His mom Ashley (37) says her son loves modelling because it boosts his self-confidence.

“I always ask him ahead of time if he wants to do modelling jobs and 100% of the time it’s yes, he tells me he likes it because it makes him feel good about himself,” says Ashley.

“He loves it, he has such a big personality and is very secure about himself, which is great [because] he doesn’t see limitations for himself.

“Colton has to overcome a lot of hurdles being a child in a wheelchair, but in this sense, he does something other children don’t have an opportunity to do, so he feels really good about that.

“He was only seven-years-old when he did New York Fashion Week, to go out there on the runway in front of all these people and cameras was incredible, he did so well.

“I had tears in my eyes, it was an amazing moment seeing him out there and so proud of himself, it took a lot for him to do that.”

A couple of years ago, Colton quizzed his mom about why he couldn’t walk, but after having spina bifida explained he’s gone on to feel confident and empowered.

“I tell him the same thing I’ve told him since he was little: that he can do anything any other child can,” says Ashley.

“It’s amazing, I still forget when he was born, his legs were so different and how far he’s come, it’s truly been a pleasure watching him grow up.

“It makes me proud that he enjoys modelling, the fact he wants to be there is really amazing.

“He just really enjoys it, he’s a bit on the young side to realise what he’s showing people by being a model with a disability, but I think as he gets older he’ll appreciate that aspect.”

Source: Magazine Features


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24