Isa-Bella Leclair Posted A Bikini Selfie Showing Off Her Parkes-Weber Syndrome And Says Her Condition “Doesn’t Define Her”.
Lymphatic fluid in her body flows into the leg and, she explains, ‘because the system doesn’t work properly it doesn’t go back, so it stays there and swells my leg.’
The 19-year-old student was left unable to play sports or wear tight clothing.
But, she’s refused to let it hold her back. She now hopes her bikini picture will inspire body confidence in others, and help raise awareness about the condition.
‘My condition doesn’t define me and there’s no way I would let it stop me from wearing a cute swimsuit or a cute dress,’ she says.
‘For me confidence is the most important part because when people see someone confident in their body – even with a disability – they don’t have pity but instead admiration.’
Mum Joanne said doctors told her Isa-Bella might never be able to walk normally. But, despite the warnings and stares of strangers, her daughter has never been fazed.
‘When I was in public at the mall or beach, people would stare at me,’ Isa-Bella explains. ‘I had to grow up faster than other kids and had to realise what I had and that it was normal for people to be curious.’
‘I would explain to people my own age, saying just simply, “I was born this way”, she says, adding: ‘Children were just curious but once they knew I was okay they just played with me.’
Meet Isa-Bella Leclair, a young woman with an inspiring and beautiful take on living with a… http://t.co/y1AL5zpYls pic.twitter.com/M3cTss7KED
— the Lymphie Life (@TheLymphieLife) June 12, 2015
Isa-Bella has a twin sister Danyka, who doesn’t have the condition, who describes her sister as ‘inspiring’. ‘She’s just very comfortable in her skin. I’m very proud of her,’ she says.
There is no cure for PWS, which is a progressive condition, but the symptoms can be treated to manage the condition.
Isa-Bella is currently undergoing a course of lymph draining massages to drain the excess fluid from her leg back into her body, and she’s already lost 6cm from around her leg in three weeks.
Now, she’s looking to the future and hopes to continue to inspire others.
‘For me, beauty isn’t just on the outside. When I say someone is beautiful I see someone who makes you feel good when you’re around them,’ she says.