Sunday 19 November 2017

Dream comes true for Mia (11) as designers bring her sketches to life

Bairbre Power Fashion Editor

Months of sketching on the ward at Crumlin Children's Hospital turned into a fashion triumph last night for 11-year-old Mia Keaveney.

Eight of Ireland's top designers took fashion sketches from the inspiring Dublin schoolgirl and transformed them into catwalk sensations.

Mia, who will be 12 in July, melted the hearts of designers like John Rocha, Tyrrell & Brennan and Deborah Veale and they turned her designs into elegant gowns for the fundraiser in aid of Crumlin Hospital's orthopaedic unit where Mia has been treated for the last 10 years for extensive burns down her right side.

Mary Grant, Jennifer Rothwell, Caroline Kilkenny, Matt Doody and Helen Cody happily took on the task while couturier Peter O'Brien, Louise Kennedy and Joanne Hynes agreed to show at the event at the National Convention Centre.

Last night, the youngster left no one in any doubt of her career plans. Using her nickname of Miamoo, she has established her own fashion label.

Mia, a fifth class student at Booterstown national school in Dublin, has undergone 10 years of painful operations and skin grafts on her foot, leg, head, arms and hand.

The enterprising schoolgirl was born in Hunan province in China and was brought to Ireland in 2002 by Clem and Sally Keaveney from Sandycove, Dublin, who had three children, Meghan, Jordan and Brett.

Sally and Clem founded International Orphan Aid and were tireless campaigners for adoption from China in the mid to late 1990s.

There was an emotionally charged moment last night when two of the first Chinese babies adopted by Irish parents, Mei-Mei Monaghan from Navan and Anna McCabe from Kildare, took to the catwalk wearing Mia's creations aptly named Little China Girl.

The cause of Mia's burns was never established and she was 20 months old when the Keaveneys first saw her in an orphanage.

"She was as bright as a button and smiled all the time in spite of her injuries," said Sally.

"Mia was determined to do something positive for Crumlin hospital where she spends so much time so she named the initiative 'Thank you Crumlin, Love Mia'."

Mia said: "I love to draw, particularly fashion designs, and one day I gave some of my designs to my friend Bernie and she loved them so much that she felt they should be seen by one of the best designers in the world, John Rocha.

"After he saw my drawings he invited me to come and meet him -- I couldn't believe it. It was a great experience and he gave me great encouragement and inspiration. I decided to use my drawings to do something positive."

Irish Independent

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