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Moment Changed Our Lives – Woman’s Own

PhotoChangedLife (Medium)Today’s story, out in Woman’s Own this week, tells the tale of three women who’s lives were changed in one moment. One pivotal moment that took them down an unexpected journey. One pivotal moment that we were lucky enough to have a photograph of! For Nicky, it was the photo of a malnourished, abused dog that needed rescuing. For Janey, it was a profile picture of a handsome man she knew instantly that she was destined to marry. And for Sarah, it was a photo of her two sons bonded that made her realise how lucky she was to have Pip in her life, and sparked off a passion for photography that still sparkles to this day.

I found writing all three stories fascinating and inspiring and I’m so thrilled to get to write about women like these – courageous, bold, wonderful women.

You can catch this story in Woman’s Own all week, and read more below. If you’d like to share the story of the moment your life changed forever, please get in touch today.

Nicky, 41, and Sue, 46, promised each other no more dogs. But then, separately, they saw a picture of Chloe. And together they knew their lives were about to change…


Nicky explains:

After my dog died in January I was heart broken. My partner Sue and I had two other greyhounds and we agreed, that was it – no more dogs.

Then, I was on Twitter one day when a picture of Chloe popped up. A severely emaciated, malnourished, petrified dog, turning to face the camera with a look in her eyes that said to me: ‘I haven’t given up!’


I didn’t know how she was still alive – but I knew I had to give her the loving home she needed.

She’d been abandoned at a rescue centre, underweight, her tail broken.

I messaged the rescue centre to let them know I was desperate to adopt her.

But Sue and I had agreed not to adopt any more dogs. So I sat her down to let her know I’d found Chloe.


‘I’ve seen this photo,’ I began. ‘I want Chloe.’


A huge smile spread over Sue’s face. ‘I’ve seen the same photo!’ she said. ‘And I want her too. I’ve already contacted the rescue centre!’


It turned out Sue had seen Chloe’s picture on Facebook and like me, had immediately contacted the centre to let them know we were the loving home Chloe needed.


We were in Cornwall, Chloe was in North Wales. We quickly hit the road so we could meet her. I’d have gone to the ends of the Earth for her.

It took a while for Chloe to gain enough weight to be allowed to come home with us, but on the 8th March this year, we brought her home.


I was suffering depression before we adopted Chloe. I’d lost my old dog after 13 years, I had herniated my back and was on heavy pain killers.

Chloe brought me back to life. She bounded into our home and found herself a bed. She just belonged. She knew she was safe. She knew she was home.


Sarah, 39, thought having a child with Down’s syndrome was the worst thing that could possible happen. She barely took any photos of her baby. Until one photo changed everything…


When my son Patrick was born, I took thousands of photos. The house was adorned with various framed pictures of him.


When Patrick was six, my husband Simon, 43, and I had another son, Pip, now seven.


As I looked at my newborn baby, the first thing I could see were the recognisable facial features of a child with Down’s Syndrome.


The life I’d known and loved was over. Things were going to change and I had no control over it.


I couldn’t even turn my camera on. I was too devastated, too ashamed of my son. The odd picture I did take, I didn’t share on Facebook, I didn’t do anything with the picture. I just took the odd picture because I thought I should, not because I wanted to.


We muddled on. As Pip’s personality began to emerge, I stopped seeing the facial features that had defined him and started seeing him for who he was.


Patrick and Pip’s relationship blossomed. When Pip was four years old, I took a picture of the two of them hugging. It melted my heart, it really captured their bond and the effortlessness of Patrick’s love for his little brother.


I didn’t see a little boy with Down’s syndrome. I saw two brothers.


I decided to share the picture on Facebook and the response was incredible. I don’t know what I’d been so scared of. I felt lifted.


I realised there was nothing to be ashamed of, only something to celebrate.

After that, I started snapping and never stopped – Pip is so used to having his photo taken now that he has to tell me to stop!


When Pip was born, I turned my camera off. But the world will not make me apologise for him. The world will see him, through the many thousands of pictures I’ve taken since that day.


Janey, 48, saw a photograph, travelled 160 miles and fell in love…


‘My dad’s marriage had broken up and he was internet dating – he convinced me to go on a dating site too.


I was a single mum, I did not think I’d ever find love again, but I went on the site for a laugh.

And then I saw the picture that changed my life.


I just knew in an instant he was the One. I shouted to my daughter, that I had fallen in love. Of course, the kids just laughed!

Mark, now 54, was living 160 miles away so while we chatted, we agreed it was geographically unsuitable and we should just be friends.


But I couldn’t get him out of my head. I kept looking at his picture.


So I went to visit him, just to see if my instincts were correct.


Mark was in a wheelchair but it didn’t matter to me – I was as in love as I had been when I’d first seen that picture.


Mark agreed to move down south to live with me and we married in 2005.
I have never been happier than I have been since Mark and I fell in love. My kids may have laughed at my love at first sight, but I was right about that photo!