Harmonie-Rose Allen, 7
Quadruple amputee given a 10% chance of survival as a toddler has inspired the nation with her courage and unbreakable spirit.
Harmonie-Rose was 10 months old, and had recently taken her first steps, when she started coughing and struggling for breath. Doctors twice allowed her home from A&E, but the next day, she went floppy and a rash appeared. This time she was blue lit to Bristol Children’s Hospital, but doctors did not know if she would survive the journey.
She arrived in a critical condition, her vital organs were failing and her limbs had turned black. Meningococcal septicaemia had damaged her legs, arms and the tip of her nose, leaving surgeons with no choice but to amputate.
She was given a 10% chance of survival, and her parents Freya and Ross were asked for permission to turn off her life support if necessary. Since then, and after more than 10 operations, she has thrived and grown into a bubbly seven-year-old who loves dancing, gymnastics, and helping others including campaigning with meningitis charities to make others aware of the severity of the illness.
Mum Freya said: “With enormous public help and unique family support she has thrived and grown into an intelligent, loving schoolgirl who loves writing, drawing as well as many sports.”
In 2019, she crossed the finish line of the Bath Half Marathon on her prosthetics, raising £6,450 for the children’s charity, Time Is Precious. During the first lockdown in 2020, she completed her 2.6 challenge, tackling six things doctors said she’d never do because of her disabilities, 26 times. These were running, singing, drawing, swimming, gymnastics and jumping, and she raised more than £76,000 for Meningitis Now. In recognition for this fundraising she was made their youngest-ever junior ambassador.
Her latest challenge this year was to scale a climbing wall 100 times and run 500m for the first time on her blades in a bid to raise £20,000 for an accessible playground.
In March she received her first bionic arm. One of her first jobs was to paint her new nails so she could hold her mum’s hand for the first time since she was a baby.
Freya added: “Harmonie shows us the beauty of living life to the fullest. She inspires us daily, and although in the early days we were unsure of what her life would be like, we knew one thing for sure – that we would love her endlessly no matter what.
“Our amazing girl has never allowed her disability to define her, instead she has used her unique abilities as a catalyst for change – to change attitudes and spread hope. Harmonie has always been our child of courage and we are honoured the whole of Britain has taken her under their wing too.”