Strictly Come Dancing champion Rose Ayling-Ellis melted hearts on Tuesday when she reposted a heartwarming photo of a fan's baby, alongside a moving message about the little boy named Zack, who was born deaf.
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Rose, who shared the snap on her Instagram Stories, linked back to the fan post, initially published on mum Jodie Gillard's account at the time of the Strictly final. The photo was accompanied by a lengthy open letter to Rose from the new mum and her husband Danny. Admitting they had initially been "shocked and heartbroken" when they discovered baby Zach was born deaf, Jodie said seeing Rose, who was born deaf, perform every week had been a beacon of hope for their child's future.
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The doting mother revealed she now felt "extra proud and privileged" to be part of the deaf community after seeing the "class, wit, humour and grace" the EastEnders star had displayed during her time on the BBC ballroom competition.
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Jodie's moving post read: "Dear @rose.a.e. When our baby was born deaf at the start of the year, we were shocked and heartbroken. As someone who loves music and dancing, the thought that my child may never get to enjoy these things terrified me. But we are positive people, we picked ourselves up and started educating ourselves in what we could do to help our beautiful Zack. When you started on Strictly, you gave us the inspiration and the determination we didn't know we needed.
Rose shared mum Jodie Gillard's moving open letter to her
"You have performed your dances with style, sass, talent and flair, and your interviews have been delivered with class, wit, humour and grace. You have been happy to educate everyone in what it's like to be deaf, but you have proved yourself to be so much more than 'the deaf one'. You are the type of person anyone would wish to be and to have in their lives. You have inspired many people to learn sign language, which is a wonderful thing.
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"I can honestly say you have given us so much hope and we feel extra proud and privileged to be part of the deaf community, we cannot wait to see Zack excel.
"We know there are tough times ahead, but whenever we need a boost we will watch your dances and remember your words 'It's such a joy to be deaf'.
Rose has always said: 'It's a joy to be deaf'
"Good luck tonight, we will vote for you as we have every week. But for us you won the moment you stepped onto the dance floor. Love Jodie, Danny and Zack x #strictlycomedancing #deaf #thefinal".
Rose bringing attention to the post has seen an influx of wonderfully supportive comments from fans, including other parents of deaf children.
One wrote: "Beautifully worded Jodie. Your little boy is very lucky to have such wonderful parents and he will have a wonderful successful happy life ahead of him. @rose.a.e you and gio continue to touch and inspire the world every day."
Rose and Giovanni have inspired so many
Sharing their own experience, another Strictly fan commented: "I am deaf but with the aid of hearing aids I can hear/feel the music. Zack will thrive with the love and support of loving parents. I promise you."
Another fan, a parent to a deaf child themselves, reassured the young couple: "We were warned that our daughter may have behavioural problems because of her frustration at not being able to communicate and that she might have to go back a year in school because she may not be able to access the curriculum.
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"None of that happened - in fact she threw one tantrum in her life so far and that was half-hearted. And in school she was cleverer than them all. And now a student in one of the top five universities in the world. Whether it’s dancing, acting, or studying everything is possible with proper support. And with role models like Rose we hope his way in life is open. You have a very special child."
Kudos to Rose for opening up the conversation!
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