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For this glorious piece, mums Pippa, Emma and Vicky wrote themselves an open letter, going back in time to the day they found out their beautiful children had Down’s syndrome. The letters are poignant, powerful, funny, sweet and so lovely. Just like their children! I am so proud to work for the Down’s syndrome community, doing what we can to represent the reality of Down’s syndrome in the media so that families of the future understand that it’s not to be feared. Down’s syndrome has made these incredible children who they are.

Out now in Best. I worked on this piece in partnership with The Specials, which is a wonderful project. Check out their videos here.

You probably saw the video – it’s now had four million views! It’s a wonderfully uplifting idea, created by 50 mums in the Down’s syndrome community (and edited by one dad – Jamie!) which saw the world’s heart melt for their beautiful, gifted kids. In our never-ending ambition to educate the world on what Down’s syndrome really means, this video summed it all up to a beat. It means happy families. It means clever kids. It means sunshine and smiles and laughter and tears (happy tears!)

Here, three of the mums featured in the video share with Bella magazine what it was like to see their kids go ‘viral’ … and what a profound effect on people’s understanding of Down’s syndrome they hope the video will have.

I have such a soft spot for writing about animals and the amazing humans who dedicate their lives to helping them – here we have Michelle, founder of DOTS – Dogs on the Streets – a charity set up to assist the homeless population in the care of their dogs. Michelle taught me so much I didn’t know about the homeless sector and it was so inspiring to listen to her and learn about her efforts to support homeless people and their dogs.

You can read her story online here and support Michelle here

Happy World Down’s syndrome Day! Time for my annual love fest – click below to see a collection of the incredible families I’ve written about in the last year. I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to use my pen (alright, keyboard) to celebrate so many inspiring young people. These are the game-changers, the rule-breakers, the cliche-defiers – while there’s never been more urgency to highlight what Down’s syndrome actually is (and not what medical professionals would STILL have us fear it is) these little legends are going about their legendaryness with aplomb. Just by being who they are, the ripple effect across society says We. Are. Awesome. So while NIPT (noninvasive prenatal testing) looms into view, the Down’s syndrome community are here to say #wouldntchangeathing.

For more information about Down’s syndrome, visit www.futureofdowns.com an online community offering friendly support for parents and an up to date, balanced view of life with the condition.

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So, so proud of Kathleen! Such an honour to get to write about amazing women every day. Do I have the best job in the world, or what?! Kathleen and her mum Denise invited me into their world and let me champion their lives. Now more than ever, we need to show society that Down’s syndrome is nothing to be feared. Down’s syndrome is to be celebrated. Quick, before NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) causes a dramatic decrease in the number of people born with Down’s syndrome. As Kathleen will tell you, her life rocks.

 

Please buy Best Magazine this week to read all about Kathleen. She’s going places!

The gorgeous Sarah and Dave can teach us all a thing or two about living, while they live in the shadow of death. Dave has been battling worsening cystic fibrosis his entire life and never thought he’d experience love, marriage and family. But Sarah is by his side as his wife and carer and together they make every day special.

A beautiful, poignant love story just in time for Valentine’s Day, out now in Woman.

Support their gofundme campaign for Dave’s bucket list here.

Is it too soon to say it’s spring? January has flown by and there is definite floral evidence in the garden that winter is waving goodbye and spring is waving hello. We’re super busy at Phoenix Towers, writing about all things Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and beyond.

We’ve been working on some really interesting stories about incredible women like Danielle, who’s identical twins are not quite identical, and Gail, whose daughters were tragically diagnosed with a cruel childhood condition that could see them develop all the symptoms of dementia before they reach their teens. There’s hope for Gail’s daughters – thanks to a pioneering trial, they might be able to delay the onset of symptoms and while they’re at it, change the future for thousands of children like them. It’s a story of hope and love and you can read all about it over on our ‘Recent Stories’ page.

This is the heartbreaking yet hopeful story of the beautiful Rich family. Tragically, eldest daughter Nicole was diagnosed with Batten’s disease, a cruel condition that means she’s lose her sight, ability to swallow, walk, pick things up. And in time, she’ll suffer all the symptoms of dementia. As if fate had not been cruel enough, youngest daughter Jessica was also diagnosed.

But there is hope. Both daughters are on a trial which could change the world. For Nicole, there has been a dramatic and unexpected improvement in her symptoms. For Jessica, who was diagnosed before she even had symptoms, the trial drug might just delay the onset of symptoms for years or even forever. This has significant ramifications for a whole host of childhood diseases. In short, the outcome of Jessica’s trial might just change the world for thousands of families.

Gail and her family are beautiful and brave and it was an honour to write about them. Out now in Best.

Louise has devoted her life to helping the innocent victims caught in the crossfire of war – dogs, cats, equines – any animal trying to live where us humans are at war. After concluding a tour of Iraq while serving in the military, Louise couldn’t come home – she was compelled to stay and give her life to helping animals. Dividing her time between Iraq and Afghanistan, Louise has saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives. She’s an incredible woman – but she needs our help! If you’d like to help Louise raise much needed funds to keep doing what she does, visit www.warpaws.org

You can read her story in Love Sunday or online here.

In Best Magazine this week, we delve into the debate around normalising obesity. This was an interesting report to write, taking in comments from a GP and a nutrition expert and looking at how dangerous it is to be severely overweight OR underweight. Ultimately, the most important lesson is to look after ourselves and that includes being mindful about what we eat and how active we are.

Out in Best! now…