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Archive for March, 2015

PARKERjuliaWOwinners (Small)This was a tough story to write – the lovely Julia had been imprisoned by her boyfriend who tortured her for three days. She was left black and blue. But, despite what he put her through, Donna has come out the other side a stronger, happier person. Her best friend, Donna, never gave up on her and their friendship gave Julia the strength to rebuild her life. It’s one of those stories that, while traumatic, also shows you the very best in people. These women have been friends since they were at primary school. Julia was recently bridesmaid at Donna’s wedding. It really makes you celebrate how important friendships are, doesn’t it?

Their friendship is so lovely, in fact, that the girls won a competition in Woman’s Own, which saw them win £1000. A very fitting prize.

HARRUPsarahPRIMAbaby (Small)Here’s an incredible health story which we featured in Prima Baby magazine. It’s the story of Sarah-Jane and her baby, Sienna.

Not a lot of people can claim to have had their first operation while still in the womb, but that’s what happened to Sienna. Duing Sarah-Jane’s pregnancy, a lump was picked up in scans on Sienna’s neck. It was obstructing her airways and doctors worried that she wouldn’t be able to take her first breath.

The only option was a high risk procedure to operate on the baby while she was still in the womb. And so, at 37 weeks, a C-section begun. It was high risk for Sarah-Jane too as she’d be on the operating table a lot longer than is normally recommended.

But after the two hour operation, both mother and baby were alive and well. The obstruction was a thyroid swelling and subsided as soon as doctors compressed the windpipe. Baby Sienna took her first breath safely and successfully.

It really makes you very grateful for the medical advances that have meant stories like this give hope. You can read more of the story below.



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Tomorrow marks World Down’s Syndrome Day 2015. It’s on the 21st March because the number 21 is the magic number… Chromosome 21 is one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans. People normally have two copies of this chromosome. The trisomy of the 21st chromosome causes Down’s syndrome.

On the 21st March people across the world unite to celebrate Down’s syndrome. Once feared, understanding and acceptance has become more common place now. It’s hard to believe that people who had Down’s syndrome used to be institutionalised. But those were different times.

I’ve been working with the Down’s syndrome community for years, ever since I met a very special lady called Susan who shared her story with me. We’re still friends to this day and I’ve watched her family grow with awe. I thought I’d mark WDSD by posting some of my favourite stories that I’ve had the honour of working on, in my continued quest to celebrate families in the Down’s syndrome community and help educate and inform the general public about what life with a child who has Down’s syndrome could actually be like.

So thank you Susan, Michelle, Helen, and all the lovely mums who have allowed me into your world. Happy Down’s Syndrome Day! Please click the link to see just some of the stories I’ve worked on – pretty proud of this!

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WDSDwoman2015 (Small)I’ve been working with families in the Down’s syndrome community for several years now, and am proud to put my name to so many life affirming, positive stories about children who have Down’s syndrome making their families complete. I feel that with every positive story we do, we’re changing perceptions and breaking taboos.

Sadly there are still some stories with negative connotations and a few weeks ago I spotted a story in Woman about a mum who wishes she’d aborted her son, who has Down’s syndrome. Ouch! I rallied some troops to respond to the article and thus, this week in Woman, there’s our response article, nicely timed as it’s World Down’s Syndrome Day on March 21st. Please do buy Woman this week and show your support for the Down’s syndrome community.

Later this week I’m going to post some of my previous articles about Down’s syndrome to keep the momentum going. I’m so touched by all these stories and the families who let me into their lives and trust me to write their stories, make me feel truly honoured. Thank you all!

WILLISkimTOPSANTE (Small)Sometimes I go ‘behind the camera’ so to speak – and write about myself! This month in Top Sante, the fitness magazine, I explored my fear of dancing for a feature about facing your fitness fears. I have always avoided dancing in public, even leaving my husband to dance the first dance at our wedding with his ten year old niece.


But in the name of overcoming the phobia, I found myself at a salsa class surrounded by confident, fearless dancers. It was baptism of fire, that’s for sure. But by the end of the night I was actually having fun and relished pushing myself to try something new. Now I suppose I owe my husband that dance…

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Categories: Blog, family, Holiday, Inspiration, life changing, Story, WAY foundation
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STEADMANjayneMyWThis weekend the nation celebrates Mothering Sunday. A time to take a moment and thank not just your mum, but all maternal influences in your life. Or if you’re like me, to forget to arrange anything and hope a text will do…

We placed this uplifting story of a mum supporting her daughter through loss, in My Weekly magazine, to coincide with Mother’s Day. Jayne’s story is heartbreaking, she became a widow far too young. But her mum had been through similar circumstances and was able to guide Jayne through grieving and help Jayne see the flowers blossoming through the dark times. It’s a truly beautiful story of love and family support when you need it most. Jayne is using her fee to take her mum to the Victoria and Albert museum – something they’ve both wanted to do for a long time.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums who make our lives happier!

Donna in BellaThis week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and we’ve placed a story in Bella that is a truly wonderful story of survival and determination. Donna was suffering from bulimia but when her new born baby was born and diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, Donna realised she had to find the strength to overcome her eating disorder, for the sake of her son. Little Aiden saved her life and here Donna gives her honest account of the dark days and how Aiden became her sunshine.

It’ll bring a tear to your eye! Catch it in this week’s Bella, on shelves until Tuesday. You can read more here. Read more