Body & Fitness

Madeline Stuart – the inspirational model with Down syndrome – is recovering after surgery for heart failure

The 22-year-old Australian model went into heart failure over the weekend and was rushed into surgery.
Madeline Stuart, international model with Down syndrome

Model Madeline Stuart is in recovery after undergoing open heart surgery on Monday.

The 22-year-old Australian model, who found fame as the first international model with Down Syndrome, went into heart failure and was rushed to hospital.

Maddie took to Instagram to share the news:

“So today we checked into hospital, unfortunately I have gone into heart failure and my heart has enlarged to a point where if they do not operate it will not be able to be fixed,” she wrote.

“Tomorrow morning I will have open heart surgery to hopefully repair my Mitral valve that has reached a 4 out of 4 defect [sic].

“I am sorry I have not shared this news sooner but it has been a very stressful time.”

Maddie’s mum, Rosanne Stuart, then took to Instagram to update Maddie’s 191k followers, post operation.

“So happy to share that Maddy is 17hrs post op, she is off the ventilator, very uncomfortable but doing ok, hoping all goes well today and they will remove some of her many tubes and leads,” she wrote.

She then went on to say that a “lemonade ice block for breakfast wasn’t quite enough to make us happy but the worst is over”.

Maddie’s story has been nothing short of inspirational, and in an exclusive interview with Now to Love earlier this year, Roseanne opened up about how proud she was of her amazing daughter.

“When she was born, the doctors and nurses came to me and they gave me all of this literature which wasn’t positive,” Rosanne said.

But Rosanne focused on giving her daughter every opportunity she could, and encourages other parents of Down Syndrome children to do the same.

Madeline discovered modelling after attending a fashion show during a family trip in 2014.

“As soon as she saw the models, she said, ‘Mum, me model’,” Roseanne recalled. “And I believe just because you have a child with a disability, it doesn’t mean they can’t achieve things.”

So Roseanne got Madeline a personal trainer and the then 19-year-old became fit and strong enough to try her first stint at modelling.

Maddie did a photo shoot and Roseanne shared the images online, with the message, “love yourself” and “stay fit, it will give you a long life”.

“We wanted to encourage people to stay healthy,” she said.

The photo went viral and within a month Madeline had three different fashion houses asking for her to do New York Fashion Week.

Madeline now does 18 shows per season. She’s walked the catwalk for the last six seasons of New York Fashion Week and modelled in London, Dubai and in Australia for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

Last February, she was named the Number One Fashion Game Changer in Forbes magazine.

Roseanne hopes that Maddie’s story will inspire others to help their children with Down syndrome chase their dreams.

“I wanted others to see how amazing people with Down Syndrome are,” she said. “And now, we’re putting it out there so that people can see that there’s hope, and just because you have a disability, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dreams.”

We wish Maddie a speedy recovery and send her the very best of wishes for her return to catwalk!

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