It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Marissa Irwin: Professional Model with a Disability

Marissa Irwin Remember Britan's Missing Top Model? I watched 1 episode of that. Well there really is a professional model with a disability in NYC.

Last night I was watching Mystery Diagnosis on Discovery Health and caught an interesting story about Marissa Irwin. When Marissa was 12 She started developing stomache aches, and then headaches and sore throats. She also started becoming frequently dizzy to the point where she started having blackouts. It was also discovered that she had a slight heart arythmia. Marissa had to start using a wheelchair about 3 or 4 years after her symptoms started. Through a google search of Marissa's symptoms her mom discovered something called a Chiari 1 Malformation. Chiari 1 is a condition where part of your brain squishes out of the top of your spine. She took Marissa to Long Island to a specialist to get diagnosed and have surgery. Surgery for her condition involves repostioning her skull and then fusing her upper verterbre to lock her spine in a position where everything is aligned correctly.

After the surgery Marissa commented to her mother that she was ugly; that she looked like Frankenstein. So, after all of Marissa's hair grew back in, her mother did what any good mother would do and had her take some professional photographs to boost her confidance. It was through those photos that Marissa was discovered. She is now a professional model in NYC. The picture on the right is of Marissa from Seventeen Magazine.

Marissa doesn't have a visable disability, but she sure has an obvious one. Her neck is fused. She ovbiously can't pose every which way a photographer would like her to, but nobody cares. She is still making a really good living as a model. I wonder if she really had to hide it at first? Do you think Marissa's modeling career will open up doors for models with mobility aids or missing limbs, for example, or do you think things will never change? I wonder...

The Mystery Diagnosis clip


JM said...

I just met her on a photoshoot. She was so inspiring I wanted to read more about her. She is gorgeous in person and in pictures. I had no idea she had anything different or a "disability" until they picked up her hair and someone asked about her scar. Kudos to her mom for persevering and helping her daughter in so many ways. Thank you for sharing the article!

humasima said...

I have chiari malformation, diagnosed about 10 years ago. I'd love to talk to Marissa or anyone else who has been to the chiari institute.

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