4-year-old girl beats odds, walks in fashion show ahead of New York Fashion Week

Celine Domalski's parents were told she may never walk. Now, she will be strutting her stuff ahead of New York Fashion Week.

Christie Ileto Image
Friday, August 26, 2022
4-year-old girl beats odds, walks the runway ahead of NYFW
Celine Domalski was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Her parents were told she would never walk, but now a local 4-year-old is making her debut on the runway next month ahead of New York Fashion Week.

Celine Domalski has beaten the odds.

"She's considered a medical miracle, and she is doing things that we were told she probably would never do, which includes walking," said her mother Amber-Joi Watkins.

The little girl was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. Watkins was told her daughter had a slim chance of walking, let alone doing anything else.

"If left untreated, the life expectancy is two years," Watkins said. "Your ability to breathe, eat and swallow, it can affect every muscle in your body."

But because of an early diagnosis coupled with treatment at CHOP, Watkins was determined to make sure her 4-year-old stayed active.

Now, she and Celine are getting ready to make their debut on the catwalk.

"We didn't know if Celine was ever going to walk. Even if it was going to be in a wheelchair, I always wanted her to have the opportunity to shine. Everyone deserves an opportunity to do that," Watkins said

The first-of-its-kind runway show proceeds NYFW.

The show, called Double Take, is sponsored by Genetech as part of the SMA My Way program that aims to increase disability visibility, while also breaking down stereotypes of those living with the disease.

"I'm excited to go to New York,'' exclaimed Celine.

Celine has already been to the Big Apple for her first fitting but says the look is a surprise.

"So I'm just really proud and excited that she has an opportunity to be in this space."

The fashion show is on September 8 in New York City.

NYFW starts the following day and will have on-demand video of the Double Take show.