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Fabulous Magazine has had a refurb and is looking… fabulous! In yesterday’s edition I was lucky enough to write about this incredible woman – Akuja De Garang had to flea southern Sudan when she was eight years old, after civil war made it unsafe for her family to live there. She eventually settled in Britain but always knew her heart belonged in South Sudan. As soon as it was safe she returned, and has devoted her life to girls’ education. For her services, she was awarded an MBE this year.

You can read her story here. 

 

 

Janine is one of the most wonderful people I have ever written about. I just wish that I wasn’t writing about the heartbreaking circumstances Janine finds herself in. We’ve worked together lots now and she is the funniest, warmest, most loveliest woman ever. Her daughters have inherited all those beautiful traits and also have a way with words that puts me to shame – check out the letter they wrote their mum in the attached article.

Janine has secondary incurable cancer. She has a hell of a fight on her hands but fight she does. Meanwhile, she’s also raising awareness of the importance of women (and men) checking their bodies for lumps and bumps regularly – making a boobie date once a month. Check out Janine’s website here. 

She’s also frantically raising money for her own treatment plan because the NHS is out of options for her. So if you can spare any pennies, click through to Janine’s site and donate.

Read Janine’s story in this week’s Woman Magazine. And here she is winning Mum Idol in the Sun on Mother’s Day. A most deserving accolade for this SuperMum!

Kim Willis from Phoenix Features accepts the award of Feature of the Year from Tony Gallagher, Editor in Chief of the Sun.

Oh look it’s me! Here I am accepting my award for ‘Feature Story of the Year’ at the NAPAs, my industry’s answer to the Oscars. It is a great privilege to get to write about so many amazing people and when I was writing this particular story, I knew it was something extra special. Writing for Fabulous Magazine, I described how SuperDad Gary had taken sole custody of his son after breaking up with his ex. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the baby had various behavioural problems and was diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome, as a result of the mother drinking through the pregnancy. There is no cure and it lasts a lifetime.

While organising custody, Gary found out that this child is not his biological son. Did he run? No he did not.

I’m so proud of Gary and so pleased with the story we worked hard on. I shall include it below.

It was a lovely awards ceremony in London and I got to catch up with lots of my editors. Usually there’s an air of doom and gloom for the future of our industry, but this year things felt different. There was talk of stable readership figures and healthy budgets. So, perhaps I don’t have to retrain as a yoga teacher just yet…

 

 

 

All the night’s winners for the various categories.

Gary’s story in Fabulous

 

DSUOwoman (Medium)Super pleased with this three page extravaganza in Woman magazine this week! Down’s syndrome has been in the news a lot in the last few months because the NHS has approved a new antenatal test that will make diagnosis easier to detect. The Down’s syndrome community fear that the NHS approach to delivering this diagnosis is not up to date and realistic. It is, sadly, still delivered to parents in an outdated, often rude and terrifying way.

If prenatal diagnosis is going to become more common, the NHS needs to review the way the news is delivered. The old leaflets don’t portray a realistic future for children who have Down’s syndrome today. This has got to change. And that’s what we’re campaigning for here and across numerous media platforms. Tell it right, start it right.

I am so proud of my work writing about the Down’s syndrome community. If you would like to share your story, please get in touch today.

defiedoddswo-largeTwo children who’ve grown into amazing young adults, celebrated in this week’s Woman’s Own. Firstly we have Zoe, who was born extremely premature. Doctors warned her mum, Caroline, Zoe wouldn’t make it. But she fought on… and slowly she grew. Now, she’s a public speaker, she’s running marathons and being an all-round amazing woman.

And we have the dashing young photographer Oliver, who was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome shortly after birth. Needing operations on his heart left his mum, Wendy, terrified, but Oliver showed a fighting spirit even back then. Determined to encourage her son to be whoever he wanted to be, Wendy is Oliver’s number one fan and he has rather a lot of them! Check out his website oliverhellowell.com to see examples of Oliver’s stunning photography.

If you’re children are little miracles, I’d love to hear about them. Please get in touch today! Pick up a copy of this week’s Woman’s Own to read about Zoe and Oliver.

freemanjamiebest-largeThis story has been a few years in the making. It was 2014 that young Benny arrived in this world and started what was to become a life changing journey. Mum Jamie wanted to connect with other families in the Down’s syndrome community, and not just on Facebook… so she started a journal, a real, leatherbound diary, which she sent off to a mum in Canada.

From Canada, the diary travelled around the US, then after two years on the road, it flew to the UK to visit four British families. The diary is now stuffed full of memories, photos and stories. It is a testament to the love and connections made in the Down’s syndrome community that the idea has proved to be such a huge success, Jamie is now sending out other diaries to make similar trips around the world.

Follow the journey here – www.thedownsyndromediary.com and catch Jamie’s story in this week’s Best.

atkinsongaryfab-largeThis is the incredible story of Gary and his gorgeous son, Thomas. Gary and Thomas’s mother split up when Thomas was a baby, leaving Gary to raise his son alone. Behavioural problems left Gary worrying about Thomas’s future and pressing for a diagnosis, which eventually led to the discovery that Thomas had foetal alcohol syndrome, a preventable condition that arises if the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. It leaves the child with lifelong problems.

Around the time of the diagnosis, Gary also discovered he wasn’t Thomas’s biological father.

Maybe some men would have walked away at this point. But not Gary. He explains it simply – he was there when Thomas was born. His name is on Thomas’s birth certificate. He’s raised him so far, he loves him – he IS Thomas’s father. Because that’s what it takes. It is a beautiful but heartbreaking story and I am so proud of Gary for sharing.

Further information about foetal alcohol syndrome can be found here.

Gary shared his story in Fabulous Magazine here, but we have more lined up so stay tuned!

DSUO.TAB (Large)This is a campaign very close to my heart. I have proudly worked alongside the Down’s syndrome community for almost as long as I have been a professional feature writer and we have worked tirelessly to ensure women’s magazines celebrate Down’s syndrome.

This piece in Take a Break covers a recent peaceful protest held outside Parliament by members of the Down’s syndrome community in light of a new procedure that could see a dramatic increase in terminations when a Down’s syndrome diagnosis is given and thus, less people in a community so diverse, rich and wonderful, it would be a calamity to society as a whole.

If you have a story about a cause or campaign that needs to be heard, please get in touch today.

In this week’s Best magazine, the feel-good story of three women refusing to let naysayers stand in their way, crush their dreams or dampen their spirit. I love this kind of story, it makes me want to fist-bump the air and say YEAH! I’m particularly inspired by Kathy, because I’m going grey at a rate of knots and despise society’s expectation for women to hide and dye every grey strand, lest we embrace our age!

If you have an inspiring story about how you defied the critics, I’d love to hear it – get in touch today!

NEWDAYThis thought provoking piece was in New Day over the Easter Weekend. New Day, the new newspaper from the people who bring us the Mirror and People, has found a niche in telling inspiring, absorbing stories in a non-judgemental way. What I adore about Shannon is that she turned her life around, her way. Coming from a home devoid of hugs and love, she decided to create the family environment she so lacked and longed for.

Now 23, six children later, Shannon is a wonderful mum. Sometimes when we’re chatting on the phone she talks to her children in the background and she’s so gentle and kind, I love hearing her interact with them. People might be quick to judge a 23 year old mum of six, but read Shannon’s story. It’ll change the way you see the world.

If you would like to share a story about your family, please get in touch today. Thank you.