Harmonie Rose Allen is a living, breathing, giggling testament to her mantra that “if you believe, you can”.
In her seven years so far, the girl from Bath, UK, has, among many other things, completed a half marathon, starred in a record-breaking World Meningitis Day video, raised tens of thousands of euros for charity and now won a gold medal in the United Through Sports (UTS) World Virtual Youth Festival IPC ‘Inclusive Sports Challenge’ – having survived meningitis at a young age.
“You can do anything,” Harmonie said, before her trademark and wonderfully infectious giggle took over.
It is a message she delights in spreading. And it certainly caught the expert eyes of the judges who awarded her the Inclusive Sports Challenge U12 title, ahead of applicants from all over the globe.
“I was shocked, Daddy called me downstairs,” Harmonie said, before her mother, Freya Hall, revealed that the whole family burst into tears at the news.
Harmonie’s application video features her doing a cartwheel, jumping on a trampoline, running along a balance beam and a forward roll. This last skill made her mother particularly proud.
“To be honest the beginning of this year I was thinking, I don’t know how she is going to progress at gym, I don’t know what else we are going to be able to do and then literally the next week she was back at gym and she’d got gymnast of the week and then you’d learnt how to do a forward roll which we were really unsure of,” Hall said to her daughter.
“Harmonie has always wanted to do a forward roll but we’d never really accomplished it until that day.”
Harmonie contracted meningitis at just 10 months old and was given a 10 per cent chance of survival. Not for the last time, she defied everyone’s predictions. But having been ravaged by septicaemia, the doctors were forced to amputate her arms and legs and the tip of her nose.
“She was in such a desperate place even a few months after,” her mother said. “We didn’t know if she would be able to smile or anything. It’s just amazing we have got Harmonie and she can smile and she can play and she can do whatever.
“She chooses what she wants to do and we just help her get there.”
One of the places Harmonie wants to get to is the Paralympic Games. Despite declaring that she wants to “be everything” and listing “gymnastics, football, basketball and dancing” among her many activities, it is in the pool that we are perhaps most likely to see her starring on the world stage.
She has already found the perfect role model.
“We love Ellie, we’ve met her quite a few times,” Harmonie’s mother said of the 16-year-old British swimmer Ellie Challis who won bronze in the S3 50m backstroke at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.
“Harmonie does look up to Ellie. We’ve watched her in so many races, she’s brilliant. Because she’s so like Harmonie I think that’s what inspires her.”
It is a role Harmonie is already filling for so many others. From prompting presenters on British TV to donate to campaigns live on air to encouraging fellow amputees to “get out there”, those who meet Harmonie cannot help but be forced into positive action.
But as her mother proudly says, “it’s just the beginning” for this budding young sportswoman.