By ALISON SMITH-SQUIRE
Adorable model: Natalia Goleniowski, 5, was spotted by a photographer when on holiday in Jamaica
With a smile to melt the hardest heart, it’s not surprising little Natalia Goleniowski is taking the modelling world by storm.
But what is amazing is Natalia, 5 – who goes by the name of Natty – has Downs Syndrome.
When she was born she almost died. Her parents feared she might never learn to walk or talk properly. And aged two she battled with pneumonia and heart surgery.
Jumping for joy: Little Natty's enthusiasm is infectious and has turned her into a sought-after child model
Yet she has now been signed up to model the clothes for two prestigious children’s clothes companies.
And as well as wowing the modelling world – other companies are also queuing up to feature Natalia in their campaigns - she has started school and is learning to read.
'When Natty was born we didn’t know if she would live, let alone if she would walk or talk properly. So this is a dream come true,' said proud mum Hayley Goleniowski 42, last night. 'But everywhere we go people stop me to say what a gorgeous little girl Natty is. And she just adores being in front of the camera.'
Hayley Goleniowski said: 'When Natty was born we didn¿t know if she would live, let alone if she would walk or talk properly. So this is a dream come true'
Babywear company JoJo Maman Bebe agrees. 'When we saw Natalia’s photos we were bowled over by how pretty she was,' said spokeswoman Alice Treharne, 'and we think she will be perfect to model clothes for our 2012 Autumn catalogue.'
It’s a world away from the day Natalia – nicknamed Natty - was born.
Full-time mum Hayley and her music company boss husband, Bob, 57, from Padstow, Cornwall, who also have another daughter, Mia, 7, did not expect their second child would be born anything but healthy.
Brave little girl: Natty tries out swimming with dolphins
'Apart from some morning sickness, the pregnancy was totally normal,' recalls Hayley, who has had five miscarriages, 'a scan at three months did pick up an unusual thickness in Natty’s neck and we were told this could be a sign of Down’s. But the chance of Natty being Downs was given as 300 to one, which wasn’t enough to go for further tests such as an amnioscentesis.
Sleeping beauty: The five-year-old takes a well-deserved nap after playing on the beach
'And as everything else was fine, we didn’t give it any further thoughts.'
The couple even chose a home birth.
'It was beautifully calm. I was in the bath and the midwives only arrived shortly before,' says Mrs Goleniowski.
But as soon as 6Ib Natalia was born, alarm bells rang.
'Natty was blue and not breathing. It was terrifying. We knew something was terribly wrong when the midwife went into full emergency mode and gave Natty the kiss of life.'
Welcome home! Natty's mother, Hayley, initially struggled to bond with her daughter, but big sister Mia (pictured) was always a fan
An ambulance was called and the pair were rushed to Truro’s Trelisk hospital.
There, as her mother lay in shock in a side room, medical staff desperately fought to save Natalia’s life.
It was four hours later before a consultant came in and gave the couple the news their daughter was not only critically ill – but had Downs Syndrome.