Hope Laliberte, 8, has some villainous new leg braces thanks to Massachusetts tattoo artist, Aaron Guillemette. (Photo: Jack Foley/The Herald News)
8-year-old Hope Laliberte has been wearing leg braces for the past four years, but not just any leg braces. Her first pair had skulls and crossbones on the back. Her second pair featured Batman and Spider-Man.
Hope and her twin sister Paige were born premature at 24 weeks, and have been in and out of the hospital since then. Hope has cerebral palsy (which is why she wears the braces; her sister does not) and three years ago, she was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy.
When it was time to get new braces, Hope didn’t even consider princesses or hearts and rainbows. She only wanted one thing — Disney villains.
“She’s been into Disney villains for at least a year now,” mom Pamela Laliberte-Lebeau, of Fall River, Mass., tells Yahoo Parenting. “She says she’s done with princesses and loves the villains.”
Hope’s new braces feature Disney villains Ursula and Cruella de Vil. (Photo: Jack Foley/The Herald News)
Hope wanted braces that showcased Ursula, the evil sea witch from “The Little Mermaid,” and Cruella de Vil, the fashion foe of “101 Dalmatians.” But the brace clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital where Hope has her braces fitted didn’t carry such designs, only a limited sample book from which children can choose from. “They offer all different types of little girl designs, but she wasn’t having any of that,” says the mom.
So Laliberte-Lebeau turned to family friend and tattoo artist Aaron Guillemette to make Hope’s wish come true. She ordered light pink braces, and sent them to Guillemette, who owns tattoo shop Up in Flames in Fall River, to do a custom design.
Tattoo artist Aaron Guillemette was able to incorporate Hope’s name into the designs. (Photo: Jack Foley/The Herald News)
The light pink braces are made of a resin and acrylic plastic, which made the process difficult when Guillemette tried to apply paint directly to the braces, according to a story published recently by The Herald News. Instead, he drew the characters on sticker paper and painted them with acrylic paint. After several drafts, he attached the papers to Hope’s braces and coated them in polyurethane to protect the art work.
Hope’s new braces now have her two favorite Disney villains on the back complete with evil eels, Dalmatian spots, and Hope’s name.
“When I saw the sketches that Aaron was doing, we knew that she would just be thrilled with them,” Laliberte-Lebeau says. “She’s in the hospital all the time, and she never complains.”
8-year-old Hope Laliberte has been wearing leg braces for the past four years. Her newest pair feature Disney villains. (Photo: Jack Foley/The Herald News)
But despite her health, Hope is just a regular 8 year old. She has good friends at school and enjoys watching movies and swimming. Says her mother, “If you ask her, she doesn’t think she’s any different than anyone else.”