When sisters Savannah and Siennah Greenawalt came to their mom last September with a simple question–why could their brother, Sebastian, dress up as heroes like Batman when they had only princess and fairy costumes–Amber Greenawalt decided to take action.
The Charlotte, N.C. mom thought of the inspirational women she saw on TV shows like “Major Crime,” “The Closer” and “Battlestar Galactica” and scoured local thrift stores to find items from their trademark wardrobes, in pint-size for her daughters.
“I decided to start with some of my favorites,” Greenawalt, 30, said. “I have a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ necklace, a dog tag, from a costume birthday party and Savannah was wearing it and that inspired me to start there.”
Click HERE to See Savannah’s Power Women Costumes
Greenawalt was inspired not just by the dog tag necklace, but by her 5-year-old daughter who was wearing it. Savannah was diagnosed just after her first birthday with mitochondrial disease, a currently incurable disease that, in Savannah’s case, causes respiratory issues, GI issues and requires her to undergo daily oxygen treatments.
Greenawalt, who, along with her husband, Brian, and family fundraises for research on the disease, decided to mark Global Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week, held in September, with a photo shoot featuring Savannah dressed as some of TV’s strongest female characters.
“Savannah doesn’t just dream about a cure for the disease, she dreams of what she wants to be when she grows up,” Greenawalt said. “Most don’t survive past their teenage years and I want her and all the other kids who have mito to be able to grow up.”
“I don’t know if we’ll get to see her in scrubs in the OR as an adult or in a dress and heels or as a pilot,” Greenawalt said. “I want her to be able to grow up and be an adult and wear these clothes as an adult.”
Greenawalt, who herself has battled skin cancer and who oversaw the successful treatment of her son, Sebastian, for osteoclastoma, or bone tumors, posted the photos to her blog and tweeted them to some of the stars Savannah dressed as, after which they went viral.
The inspirational photo shoot, according to Greenawalt, was especially inspired by Mary McDonell, the actress who plays Laura Roslin on “Battlestar Galactica.”
“My husband had me watch ‘Battlestar’ and in one of the opening scenes Laura Roslin, the president, was diagnosed with cancer and I immediately had a connection with it because that was my life,” Greenawalt said. “I went on to watch everything that Mary had made and found that there was always a quiet strength there in her characters, and I see a lot of the same things in Savannah.”