When former footballer Moana Hope’s ailing mother Rosemary asked her to take younger sister Lavinia into her care five years ago, she didn’t hesitate.
Lavinia, aka “Vinny”, was born with Moebius syndrome, a rare neurological disorder affecting the muscles that control facial expression and eye movement. While Moana knew it wouldn't be easy, she was eager to step up and care for her “best friend”.
“We have been so close since she was a baby,” the 33-year-old sports star tells Woman’s Day from her home in Melbourne. “To be honest I was so excited. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but never did I doubt my ability to take care of her because of how much I love her.
“Being around her makes me a better person because she is the best human I know.”
Now, Vinny, 26, is using her voice to help others with disabilities. Moana and her model wife Isabella Carlstrom have helped Vinny launch a not-for-profit called The Vinspiration Foundation, selling T-shirts to raise funds for various disability charities.
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