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Happy World Down’s syndrome Day 2019! It’s become my tradition to collate all the stories about all the legends of the Down’s syndrome community I’ve written about in the past year, to mark this wonderful, worldwide celebration. I have written about amazing children like Max, who I wrote about over Christmas for Best and Chat, who is just about the most gorgeous little elf in the world. I wrote a lovely feature for Best in the style of an open letter from mums Emma, Pippy and Vicky to themselves, offering advice on the day their children Corin, Leo and Audrey came into the world. Remember the Carpool Karaoke video that went mega-viral? We placed a story about a few of the mums involved, in Bella. And then there were a few stories about older people who had Down’s syndrome and are blazing trails – beauty queen Kate shared her story in the Sunday People and huge, happy congrats to Heidi, who shared her story in Best just recently, detailing the day her fiance proposed. I look forward to writing about your wedding, Heidi!

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.

Click ‘read more’ here to see all these fantastic stories in print! Read more

I mean – seriously. Could Willow be any cuter? My latest Christmas themed story is about a beautiful little lady called Willow, who came along and completed her family. Hers is the sort of story Christmas is made for, because Christmas is a time for love and gratitude for those we keep close.

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.

Catch Willow in Bella – out now!

I mean… sometimes I just melt! Here’s Max and Cory, two beautiful souls brought together in tragic circumstances, now bringing Christmas cheer to children in hospital over the festive season, every year.

Such beautiful families who have been through so much, but keep smiling and making the world a better place. A very merry Christmas story indeed – out now in Pick Me Up.

This story makes me cry! An incredible insight into what a family went through while twins Alex and Lucas fought for survival after a premature birth. So lovely to hear a dad’s point of view too, because dad’s don’t get much of a look in when it comes to real life stories. Jonathon kindly shared his diary with us and it is at times funny, at times heartbreaking, but hopeful and brave too.

Jonathon is raising awareness of the incredible charity Ronald McDonald House – free accommodation set up beside hospitals for people in Jonathon’s predicament – too far from home, in need of a bed. You can find out more about them here. 

One of those charities you might not know exists until you need them…

Jonathon’s story was in the Sunday Mirror yesterday. You can read it online here.

I adore Tyler – he’s been through an extremely difficult and dark chapter but he’s determined to use his experiences to help other children. And he’s still only 11 years old.  Tyler has Asperger’s syndrome but for a long time, he couldn’t communicate how he was feeling or what he was going through. His dedicated, wonderful mum Tracy perservered and supported him, even sleeping on the floor beside his bed.

In time, Tyler was given the extra support he needed and he’s now flourishing – he wrote a book, Invisible Me, to help other kids, but he’s so wise, he can help adults while he’s at it. You can buy the book through the Marie Curie website here. 

Out in Bella now.

I worked with the wonderful charity Scope to bring this story to women’s magazines. Christie was so wonderfully determined to share the darkness she experienced following a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth, in the hopes that her story will help others experiencing similar difficulties to feel less alone. There’s way too much pressure on women to have instagram-ready pregnancies and births. Just look at Kate Middleton looking all blow-dried, high-heeled and gorgeous hours after her third birth, yesterday! But what happens if you don’t feel like posing for photos after your child is born? What if you feel like everything’s gone wrong? It can happen – Christie was diagnosed with PTSD after everything that happened to her.

After little Elise was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Christie has been supported by Scope. Please do contact them if you are affected by the details of this story. Out now in Best.

 

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.

Read more

I have such a soft spot for writing about animals and in yesterday’s Love Sunday, I was able to celebrate a gorgeous, patient and wise dog called Suzie, who along with her human companion Kelly, fosters kittens in New York. Kelly has been fostering kittens for a few years and at first thought she’d have to keep the kittens away from Suzie. But Suzie proved to be an asset to the fostering process, showing the kittens that she could be their climbing frame, their protector, their hug blanket!

The story behind the fostering makes for difficult reading – kittens and cats are dumped and neglected all over the city and Kelly works tirelessly to raise awareness of this, while looking after as many kittens as she can. The story of Suzie the kitten whisperer will melt your heart! You can read the online version here and follow Kelly and chums on Instagram here.

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.