A schoolgirl has the internet in stitches after photographing her malformed hand ‘Fred’ in a range of funny scenarios.
Haylee Gardner, 16, is missing fingers due to amniotic band syndrome, which cut off blood flow to her left hand while she was in the womb.
Growing up, the high school student would doodle on her ‘little hand’ with marker pen, bringing it to life with eyes and a smile.
Haylee nicknamed the limb Fred and after realizing it made her friends laugh, decided to set up an Instagram page devoted to her alter ego.
She has since staged photoshoots showing ‘Fred’ in a range of real-life scenarios – including driving a car, traveling on a plane, playing scrabble and blowing bubbles.
Haylee said she hopes the profile, @littlehandfred, will raise awareness about limb difference as well as giving her followers a giggle.
The teenager, of Macksburg, Iowa, said: “When I was younger I would get bored and draw on myself.
“I would draw mostly faces and I noticed my thumb kind of looked like a nose and the other ones looked kind of like a mohawk.
“My mom really stressed when I was growing up that I shouldn’t be afraid of showing it to people or hiding it.
“I drew on it a whole bunch because my friends thought it was really funny and one of them suggested I make an Instagram account.
“Normally if I’m walking around and looking at stuff in my bedroom I’ll think, ‘Oh, how could I make this into a funny face?’
“I have to take the picture and work my hand around so it is sometimes a struggle.”
Amniotic band syndrome is a rare condition caused by strands of the amniotic sac separating and entangling parts of the fetus.
Physical birth defects can occur if those strands become wrapped around the digits, arms, legs, head or face, and internal organs can be affected.
In Haylee’s case, the condition resulted in her being born with a deformed left hand.
Haylee, who lives with mom Tricia, 43, an online virtual assistant and dad James, 50, a railroad rapid responder, said her hand sometimes draws unwanted attention.
But the teenager has learned to be confident thanks to support from her parents and hopes her profile will help normalize limb differences.
“I had one bully when I was at school who was really nasty to me,” she said.
“Mostly it is little children staring which doesn’t bother me as much, but then their parents shoo them away.
“If they would just come up to me I would gladly tell them.
“I hope my page will make people laugh, but I also hope people, when they see someone like me in public, will have known this is a thing before that moment.
“Hopefully they won’t be as likely to stare or point.”
Follow Haylee and Fred on Instagram @littlehandfred.