My two children, Jojo and Minou, were both born with bilateral clubfoot.
The first time I heard the word “clubfoot” was at the hospital, during a routine anomaly scan. I was 20 weeks pregnant. I froze with fear. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry that day.
To my relief, there was a treatment that could correct my children’s feet. It had been developed by a countryman, Dr Ignacio Ponseti, a man I admire, not only for his orthopaedic legacy but also for his remarkable qualities as a human being. In 1936, Dr Ponseti served in the Spanish Civil War, treating battlefield wounds and fractures. He eventually escaped to France while transporting wounded soldiers. From France, he travelled to Mexico, and finally to Iowa where his career and interest in clubfoot began. The Ponseti method has become the gold standard of clubfoot treatment worldwide, helping thousands of babies to walk.
After Jojo's birth, I became a regular at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. I saw children with all sorts of problems, and I met parents that looked at my children’s casts with envy, wishing that clubfoot was the only problem they had to deal with. The journey for clubfoot babies and their parents can be a challenging one, for some more than for others, but we must not forget all the moments of achievement: the first steps, the joy of the first bath after weeks of casting, the first run at school sports day. These are magical, precious, golden moments. They will make all the hard work worth it.
Once the casting phase was over, the night-boots-and-bar routine began. Jojo, like most babies, didn't want to wear them. I used to come up with all sorts of stories while putting his boots on every night. He was too little to understand me, but the sound of my voice seemed to be enough to distract him, allowing me to put the boots on.
Coming from a strong creative-professional background, it was just a matter of time before one of the stories became a few sketches, the sketches turned into drawings and the drawings into watercolour illustrations that inevitably landed up in my scanner. One day, a chat with the exhausted mum of a clubfoot baby in the hospital's waiting room gave me an idea: could our story help other babies, like Jojo, going through the same thing? Soon after, it was a friend's belief and encouragement that made it happen.
I am constantly amazed by the positive feedback that I receive from parents of children with clubfoot all over the world. It has inspired and driven me to translate the book into different languages, to create free audio books for those families with no access to the paperback due to location or financial difficulty, to develop a photo gallery for all of us to see that we are not alone in this process.
As "One in 1000" grows, I strive to grow with it, by helping others, which is the very reason this book came about.
I studied Graphic Design at Central St Martins in London. Soon after I moved to Paris to work for Philippe Stark, doing illustration and product packaging design for a year.
I came back to London to open a design studio called “Foreign Office” where I worked for 16 years as a director, creative, designer and illustrator for clients like BBC, MTV and Channel 4. I worked on film title-sequences including four of “Harry Potter” films, “The Queen” and “Mrs Henderson Presents”.
I also created and directed content for the film “Children of Men” and documentary “The Shock Doctrine” by Alfonso Cuaron and Naomi Klein.
I personally won a BAFTA for Best Short Film directing a Children Environmental Awareness short Film for Nickelodeon.
I presently works as a freelance creative, designer and illustrator in London.