Model Spotlight on Franny


The models we work with here at Matilda Jane are all beautiful, spirited, unique little girls. It’s easy to see their sparkling personalities shine through in the final photos. Recently, we met a model with such an inspiring story – and an incredible attitude – that we just had to share her story with you.

Franny is a 6-year-old from Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa. She came to the United States because she was in dire need of medical care that wasn’t available in her home country. Rebecca Ghent and her family, from Fort Wayne, IN, hosted Franny when she first arrived.

Franny Singing

When Franny came to the United States, she was 3 years old, weighed only SEVENTEEN pounds, and didn’t speak a word of English. She was quiet and scared but very brave. Her first surgery was in December of 2011. It took 8 hours, a full 6 hours longer than anticipated, but she was released from the hospital two days later. Eleven days after the surgery, the doctors discovered that Franny had contracted post-op meningitis. She was incredibly sick, lost vitals, and was transported from Fort Wayne to the University of Michigan by ambulance during the middle of a heavy snowstorm.

In total, she lost vitals three times and was touch-and-go for the entire trip. But she persevered and was stabilized for surgery. A successful surgery and seven blood transfusions later, she woke up. She told her shocked host mother in very clear English that her name was Franny and that Jesus was in her heart. Franny was diagnosed with multiple neurological disorders, sustained traumatic brain injury and loss, MRSA infection of the cerebral spinal fluid and meningitis. The doctors told her host family that they had little to no neurological expectations for her. She returned to Africa in November 2012 after a full recovery, but her health rapidly declined again.

The organization that brought Franny to the US the first time was unable to bring her back for a second time. So Franny’s American host family, the Ghent’s, founded Ray of Hope Medical Missions to raise the funds needed to get Franny the help she needed. Ray of Hope has grown into a non-profit organization that facilitates and secures medical visas and passports, free transportation, and life-saving care and medical procedures for medically deprived children from underdeveloped nations. Ray of Hope provides select children (14 total since its inception) with all the necessities required to get medical care in the United States. Once healthy, the children return to their families.

Franny came back to the United States for a second time. When she arrived, she was diagnosed with plasmodium falciparum malaria, the least common and most deadly form of malaria – especially dangerous for an already neurologically compromised child. Her prognosis was grim, but once again, she made a full recovery. Franny continues to surprise her host family daily with all of her achievements.


She has a long road ahead of her. The specialists expect for her to have at least 3 additional emergency surgeries before she turns 18. Since Franny’s home country doesn’t have the medical resources necessary to maintain her condition, she is unable to return to Africa. The Ghent’s have become her full-time adoptive family. Franny stays in touch with her “African Momma” via Skype, and hopes that one day when she is older and healthier, she will be able to go back to Africa – even if just to visit.

Despite all of her struggles, Franny has grown into an incredibly happy, kind and energetic young girl. She brought a smile to everyone’s faces at the shoot. From telling stories to leading the crew in a sing-a-long, Franny is one really special little girl.

Click here to read more about Ray of Hope Medical Missions.

Jocelyn - July 25, 2014 - 1:57 pm

Wow! She sure brightens up my day, especially after reading this!! She is absolutely gorgeous, and even more gorgeous in her MJ! Thanks for sharing this story!

Mary - July 24, 2014 - 11:27 pm

Incredible story. What love and courage for her mother to let her go so that she could be well and have a chance to live. Thank you for sharing her story and what an adorable model she makes.

Veronica - July 24, 2014 - 11:36 am

When I saw Franny’s pictures for the first time, my face lit up because she sees like a wonderful little girl, just bursting with energy! She looks like the kind of little girl I would like my daughter to be; tenacious, funny, kind, beautiful, brave, and full of life and laughter! Thank you for choosing someone so inspiring to be one of the faces of your new line! I can’t wait to see what is next for sweet Franny!

Stacey C - July 24, 2014 - 10:13 am

What a beautiful story… what a beautiful smile… what amazing hearts…. God is Good….

Loretta C - July 23, 2014 - 11:33 pm

I don’t know if I am crying tears of joy or sadness, but all I can say this god bless the Ghent Family and their beautiful daughter, Franny! I will definitely be looking for more pictures of this beautiful and spirited gal in this and future MJC releases. Her smile lights up my heart 🙂

Thank you for sharing this story with us.

VIOLETA - July 23, 2014 - 11:14 pm


Gran - July 23, 2014 - 2:49 pm

I love reading Franny’s story. Her bubbly personality is showing all over the place in the pictures. Perfect MJC model!

April Aguilera - July 23, 2014 - 1:55 pm

I am in tears… what a beautiful little girl… what beauty she brings to the clothing. Thank you for the work you do. Thank you for making girls like mine shine!

Kayla - July 23, 2014 - 9:20 am

Awesome post!!!! Loved Franny then and love her even more now.

Shari W - July 23, 2014 - 9:15 am

This is just another reason I love MJC and am proud to help spread the love! You all are the best! Thanks for sharing!

Joy - July 23, 2014 - 8:59 am

What a beautiful story! Thank You for sharing with us. Franny is such a doll!!

Aubry Rambaud - July 23, 2014 - 1:58 am

Love this, thanks for sharing Franny’s story! I’ll keep this sweet girl in my thoughts and prayers!

Stephanie L. - July 23, 2014 - 1:45 am

What an incredibly adorable and brave little Franny! Praying for a full recovery.

Laurel - July 23, 2014 - 12:19 am

Franny has stolen my heart! What an amazing story.. I truely feel her energy and spunk, thank you MJC for sharing her story.

annalee - July 22, 2014 - 11:30 pm

WOW, what an incredible story and life! She is such a doll. Thank you for sharing her smile and miracle.

Jessica Merrill - July 22, 2014 - 11:23 pm

Amazing story! What a strong and courageous little girl!!!

Sarah - July 22, 2014 - 10:55 pm

Franny is an inspiration to us all! Thank you for telling her story!

Becky S - July 22, 2014 - 10:19 pm

She is just precious! Her story is so inspiring. Thank goodness for her host family in America.

Jennifer L - July 22, 2014 - 7:27 pm

So inspiring and so thankful for my healthy children. Franny’s story really puts things in perspective. Will definitely be praying for this special little girl.

Amy - July 22, 2014 - 6:09 pm

What a beautiful little girl with an equally beautiful story 🙂

Sarah - July 22, 2014 - 4:56 pm

What a beautiful girl and such a fighter! Her personality shines through in these photos and she’s a perfect representative of Matilda Jane Clothing!

Val Taylor - July 22, 2014 - 4:35 pm

Beautiful story and little girl. What a blessing that she received the medical attention that she needed. Her story made my day. Thank you so much for sharing.

Lisa F. - July 22, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Thank you for sharing such an amazing story, thank you to Franny for displaying what it truly means to be small but mighty, and thank you to the Ghent’s for being a shining example of love and positive change.

Hannah - July 22, 2014 - 4:10 pm

What a sweetheart. I will keep her in my prayers. She sounds like a ray of sunshine 🙂

KaMarlowete - July 22, 2014 - 4:08 pm

I love her! (It’s ok to love her, right? Without knowing her? Because I love her!)

amy j. - July 22, 2014 - 4:02 pm

wow…bless her heart!!! she is one special little lady! thank you for sharing!

Brooke - July 22, 2014 - 3:50 pm

What a beautiful strong girl! She is absolutely remarkable!

Kelly - July 22, 2014 - 3:31 pm

Wow I am just in tears reading this! This is a precious girl and an amazing family ❤️

Abby - July 22, 2014 - 3:22 pm

Amazing story and an adorable little lady! Praying for her!

Katherine Merritt - July 22, 2014 - 3:08 pm

What an inspiring story! This made me mist up. I will be looking up that nonprofit and donating!

Holly - July 22, 2014 - 3:06 pm

Wow! What an amazing story, little girl and family! Thank you for sharing her beautiful, happy face.

Rochelle - July 22, 2014 - 3:04 pm

What an incredible story & little girl! Thank you for sharing.

Andrea M - July 22, 2014 - 3:02 pm

She is beautiful! Joy just radiates from her <3 it makes my heart sing that through such adversity that she is able to maintain that joy. Much love

Heidi Adam - July 22, 2014 - 3:00 pm

Franny’s story is incredible! That little girl has endured more already than most of us will in our full lifetimes and she looks so happy for it all! The Ghent family are her angels on earth! What an inspirational story, thank you for sharing!

Michelle Gresham - July 22, 2014 - 2:55 pm

She’s beautiful! Good luck to Miss Franny; I will pray for her and her health. God Bless U of M Children’s Hospital; they saved my daughter’s life in 2012. And God Bless the Ghent family as well. They sound like lovely people! And we can’t forget MJC and all the amazing things you do through your company, so God Bless you too!

Katie R. - July 22, 2014 - 2:42 pm

Amazing story. She looks like a spunky little fireball. 🙂

Stacie Petta - July 22, 2014 - 2:36 pm

Beautiful story…beautiful girl!

DanaOh - July 22, 2014 - 2:33 pm

Beautiful girl and beautiful story! She must have something very special planned for her on this earth for surviving such horrific medical challenges and beating the odds. I’d love to watch her story unfold over the years. Miracles happen everyday!!! Thank you for sharing the inspiration. xo

StateChick - July 22, 2014 - 2:26 pm

What a beautiful child! God Bless the Ghent family and their ministry! Thanks for sharing. 🙂