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There’s a worrying trend afoot – children under the age of ten are increasingly being excluded and expelled from their schools. This week, Best Magazine has delved into the rise of expulsions in a reportage piece that lifts the lid on what’s going wrong. We found Toni and Faline, two mums whose lovely sons have experienced this and are no longer welcome at their schools.

School should be somewhere a child should be nurtured and encouraged, not blacklisted. Especially at such a young and pivotal age. Sad times indeed.

Out this week in Best. Thank you Toni and Faline.

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!

DENCHsachaGHK (Large)While I love to write about the antics of women like Sacha, I have to admit that I am too much of a scaredy cat to ever achieve anything quite like her feat. Paramotoring from the depths of Russian tundra to the wetlands of Gloucester, she flew over mountain and sea, alongside swans, above whales, beneath geese. My husband is a paramotorer and every summer I lose him to the skies. Join him? No thank you.

Sacha’s story was a thrill to write, because I love to write about women who possess characteristics I wish I had. She’s brave, she’s bold, she’s fearless.

Sacha’s adventure is in this month’s Good Housekeeping.

If you’ve had a life changing adventure, let me know! I will write about you from the safety of my office…

That I get to write about extraordinary women like Memory fills my heart with pride. That extraordinary women like Memory exist, fills my heart with joy. Memory grew up determined to choose for herself when she would marry, despite her culture forcing children as young as ten to marry against their will, often after they’d experienced the horror of a sexual initiation camp, which is every bit as horrific as it sounds. Memory said no. Memory said no for herself and through her tenacity and determination, she said no for generations of women to follow her. She changed the law and she will change the culture.

Out in this week’s Reveal. Check out Plan International UK for more of their campaigns.

DANIELSrachelTAB (Large)Hello everyone! Happy World Down’s syndrome Day – a momentous global celebration uniting every corner of the world. You can read more about the events taking place here. 

Last year I wrote a blog charting all the stories I’d been lucky enough to write in the preceding 12 months, and I did the same the year before… Here I am again! I am so, so proud to have written so many life-affirming stories about extraordinary people in the Down’s syndrome community, who have kindly welcomed me into their fold. Together, we have championed Down’s syndrome and illustrated over and over again that Down’s syndrome is no impediment to a fulfilling, happy and rewarding life, that society need not fear Down’s syndrome, that we are, in fact, lucky to know these talented, charming, confident, gorgeous individuals.

NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) continues to gather pace and what I’d like to be writing about this time next year, is that the NHS retrained all medical professionals in the reality of Down’s syndrome, so that the inevitable increase in prenatal diagnoses is accompanied by a fresh and realistic portrayal of what life might have in store. To screen out Down’s syndrome would be to create a society lacking diversity and says more about society than it does about Down’s syndrome.

To the Down’s syndrome community I say I love you and I say thank you. Thank you for continuing to let me write about and celebrate you. Here’s this year’s collective of our stories: Read more

FREEDdaveReveal (Large)I love working on stories like this – in Reveal this week, we look at Shared Parental Leave and why, despite a government scheme introduced two years ago to encourage dads to take a longer paternity leave, so few men actually are. Dave champions the joys of taking a longer leave and makes some really salient points about his career being no more or less important than his wife’s. A true feminist! His leave has meant a special and deep bond has formed with baby James and I hope his story inspires more fathers to take that extra time off.

Out now in Reveal! Please get in touch today if you’d like to share your thoughts on this topic.

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.

brookjaninetab-jpeg-largeI adore this family. Janine radiates positivity, humour, confidence and charm – all things that would disappear from my personality if I was facing what she is – a terminal cancer diagnosis. But her personality shines through her daughters too, who have grown up in the shadow of cancer and who are adorable, brave young girls. The letter Sophia wrote to her mum brings a tear to my eye and was the inspiration for us to do Janine’s story in the form of a letter to her daughters. It certainly packs an emotional punch.

Janine has a message for us all – remember to check your boobs. She runs a facebook page called Boobie Date and hopes her story will remind us all how important it is to check for unusual lumps regularly.

Please visit breastcancercare.org.uk for support.

mavromoustakinatfab-largeFor an insider’s take on what is really happening at the continent’s many refugee camps, read Natalia’s memories from her time volunteering at Idomeni in Greece, on the border of Macedonia. She was there during the period that Macedonia closed their borders, leaving Idomeni to cope with 15,000 refugees. Natalia tells us what the press didn’t at the time – the moments of courage and kindness and compassion.

Her story reminds us all that refugees are our fellow humans, running from danger. They deserve our courage, kindness and compassion – something Natalia has in spades.

She appeared in this week’s Fabulous magazine. If you’d like to share a similar story, please get in touch today.

Blogger, vlogger, podcast host, public speaker, student and London Fashion Week reporter – Emily is many things. Many incredible things. She’s also registered blind, as a condition left her blind in her right eye and with just 10% vision in her left. With guide dog Unity by her side, Emily is on a mission to show the world that her visual impairment doesn’t stop her living her life or loving her fashions. The way she describes what fashion means to her is so beautiful – it’s not just about colours. For Emily, fashion is about the smell of a vintage shop or a swoosh of a maxi skirt.

She’s a lovely young lady and I was thrilled to write about her for Reveal magazine. Out this week!

If you have an inspiring story like Emily’s that you’d like to share with the world, please get in touch today.