Finley means, “Fair warrior.”
When I met Finley and her parents, Christina and Josh, in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, her name made perfect sense. This little girl is not a typical adorable three year old. She is strong. I can feel it. And it makes sense, considering she has been through what most of us cannot fathom.
Finley came into this world at 31 weeks gestation, and prematurity caused Bilateral Grade-3 Brain Bleeding. Her parents were informed that their daughter would be delayed and might never walk. Early intervention would be key, and so Finley started therapy and Infant Stimulation when she was just three months old.
While spending some time with Christina and Josh in their home and seeing the way they interact with Finley, who they call “Fifi,” I could not help but feel grateful to witness such love. “I would do anything for my daughter,” says Christina, when answering whether she had hesitations about crowdfunding. Josh tells me he was a bit hesitant at the beginning, but that as soon as they began their crowdfunding journey, he realized how incredible it is to see so many people showing up to support them, especially with the Dare to Dance Challenge that the family created.
Finley’s official diagnosis is Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy with overall Left-Side Weakness. She is one of the only kids in her dance class who cannot stand on her own two legs, and according to her fundraising page, “If I could give her my legs, I would,” says Christina.
Christina might not be able to give Fifi her own legs, but the campaign that she started for Fifi has already raised enough money for the life-altering surgery, which is scheduled for the fall. All additional money raised will go toward a foundation the Smallwood family is starting to help other children like Fifi, who dream of dancing on their own two feet. To learn more about Fifi and support her, check out her campaign.
You can start your own free fundraiser today.