Super Ollie and his powers

16:00, Jan 20 2014
Ollie Walton
Ollie Walton being photographed for The Super Power Baby Project

It was dream built out of tragedy.

When Timaru couple Sam and Rachel Callander lost their 2-year-old daughter, they decided to embark on a photo project that would change the way society spoke about disabilities.

''This is our daughter Evie's legacy, it is about our own journey with her and what she taught us in those two years,'' Mrs Callandar said.

Evie was born with a rare chromosomal condition that set her apart, doctors categorised her by what she couldn't do, but her parents started acknowledging the things she could as her ''super powers''.

After Evie's death Mrs Callander decided she wanted to produce and publish a book celebrating the unique powers of children with genetic abnormalities.

Using crowd funding website Pledge Me the duo raised $85,288 so they could travel New Zealand searching for children whose abnormalities could be celebrated as diverse abilities.


Yesterday Mrs Callander travelled to Southland to photograph four children with a variety of ''super powers''.

Four-year-old Ollie Walton jumped with an infectious and jovial laugh on his trampoline yesterday afternoon, while Ms Callander caught his contentment on camera.

Ollie was born with a connective tissue disorder that affects his sight, speech, and fine and gross motor skills, mum Andrea Walton said.

''Although Ollie faces difficulties, we wanted to celebrate the gorgeous, clever and humorous little man he is and everything he can do,'' she said.

Ms Walton and her husband were told Ollie would never walk but after years of physical therapy, he took steady steps, much to the elation of doctors and family.

''He is a real life super hero. This project is exciting and we hope it will change the way people view disability,'' she said.

Mrs Callander aims to photograph 75 New Zealand children with a varied range of syndrome and genetic conditions.

''The Super Power Baby Project is about creating a new language to describe disability. A language that celebrates awesomeness and teaches the world to see the beauty in these children,'' she said.

Ms Walton said the project was healing.

''Ollie's condition does not define who he is, it just helps describe him a little better.''

Two other Southland children were photographed yesterday, while the fourth would be photographed today

The Southland Times