Francesca Lockwood, four, of Goldfinch Court, Wath-upon-Dearne, has been nominated for a Young Champions award by her mum, Melissa Lockwood, who is ‘beyond proud’ of her daughter’s achievements.
When she was born, her parents were unaware that Francesca had Down’s syndrome and when they were told, they did not let her condition stop them from allowing her to be the best she can be.
Down’s syndrome is caused by the presence of a third chromosome, trisomy 21, in a baby’s cells.
In the majority of cases, Down’s syndrome is not an inherited condition and usually occurs because of a chance happening at the time of conception.
Melissa said: “We were in complete shock when we found out and we didn’t know what to expect but she has come along so well. Out of all her siblings she was definitely the easiest baby.
“Each year on March 21 the world observes World Down’s Syndrome Day, which raises awareness about the condition.
“On the first year we had Francesca and this day came, I took several photos and posted these online and spoke about our experience.
The response we received was amazing.
“In 2018 we participated in a carpool karaoke challenge with the Facebook group Designer Genes, which was a page for parents with children with Down’s syndrome born in the years 2013 to 2014. We sang Christina Perri’s song 1,000 Years and the video went viral.
“Francesca loves seeing herself in the video and from there we began putting her forward for clothing campaigns.”
The Wath CofE pupil won a competition to become the face of Chocolate Clothing, a designer baby and children’s clothing store. She has also modelled for next and signed with Zebedee Management, a modelling agency which works specifically with people who have a disability. Through Zebedee she has had contracts with Mothercare and the ELC.
Melissa said: “She absolutely loves being in front of the camera and I love that she is sending a message and smashing stereotypes.
“She is an inspiration to others and although she might not realise it yet, she deserves recognition for what she has achieved.”
When Francesca is not modelling she is dancing with the Dearne Valley Dance Academy in Brampton, and she will be participating in their dance show on May 11 and 12.
Melissa said: “She adores dancing and her teachers are so welcoming and understanding with her.
“I want people to understand that Francesca is a normal four-year-old girl and she is so much more than her diagnosis.
“What she has achieved deserves to be praised and I want the world to see her like we see her.”