A tattoo artist has granted a young girl her wish by adding villain characters from popular Disney movies to her leg braces.
Aaron Guillemette, owner of Up in Flames Tattoo in Falls River, Massachusetts, was approached to design tattoos for 8-year-old Hope Laliberte’s leg braces by her parents, Pamela Laliberte-Lebeau and Aaron Lebeau.
According to a news release from TODAY.com, Hope—a preemie born at just 24 weeks’ gestation—has cerebral palsy, legal blindness, and a rare form of epilepsy.
While her twin sister, Paige, has had few health issues, Hope has needed to wear leg braces, eat a specialized diet to control her epilepsy, and overcome many other challenges in her life, per the release.
So, according to the release, when Hope wanted special designs on her braces, her parents set out to find a way to make it happen.
“As a family, we do whatever we can to make Hope happy. Anything we can do to make her smile, we do. So this was one of those things,” Laliberte-Lebeau says in the release.
“She had her heart set on Disney villains, and since the brace clinic didn’t offer that as a design, we asked Aaron to help us,” she continues.
“I’m glad to be in a position where I can help the community in any way. When I was first approached about designing Hope’s braces, I thought it would be an awesome idea — especially when I heard what the subject matter would be. Hope wanted Disney Villains on her braces, not princesses,” Guillemette states in the release.
Guillemette and his team at Up in Flames Tattoo tried various ways to get the artwork—which features Ursula from The Little Mermaid and Cruella de Vil from the movie 101 Dalmations—to adhere to the braces without coming off. Eventually, Guillemette’s designs were turned into labels, which were adhered to the plastic brace material and covered with polyurethane to keep them from scraping off, the release explains.
Laliberte-Lebeau says in the release that her daughter is thrilled with the result.
“She absolutely loved them. She screamed when she saw them. She can be shy sometimes, but when she saw them she ran to Aaron and gave him a hug,” she says.
“She loves wearing them now. At bedtime, she reminds me that she gets to wear her braces tomorrow,” Laliberte-Lebeau continues in the release.
Guillemette, whose daughter, Ava, is a classmate of Hope’s, says in the release that after observing Hope through the years at school and seeing her strong spirit, designing the braces was something he was happy to do.
“I knew they would be very special for Hope, because even at that age, kids are so aware of fashion and style. So instead of her being self-conscious about her braces, I thought it would be great for her to be excited and proud about them,” Guillemette explains in the release.
The look on her face when I gave them to her was worth everything it took to make them,” he concludes.