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The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes took a group of people with varying forms of dementia and gave them the opportunity to work in a restaurant – the results are on 4od now. It’s a great concept for a show and an experiment – incredible people have been written off as incapable of working but the show asks what happens if you give people responsibility again?

Lorayne was one of the participants and has early onset frontotemporal dementia. Here she tells her story in Best and it was wonderful to work with her. Lorayne has lost none of her wit, strength or courage.
The title refers to the film Still Alice, which is a devastating but poignant watch. Lorayne’s story is out now in Best.

With Father’s Day ahead this weekend, I’ve been writing about amazing dads. Men who have been through the most heartbreaking of circumstances, but come out stronger for those around them. Men who are not afraid to talk about mental health and understand that true strength is in talking about our fragility. Men like Mark, who went out for a walk with his wife and toddler and came home a widow and a single dad. His story is so incredibly sad, but Mark found his way through it and taught himself how to be happy again. For his wife, Katherine. For his daughter, Margot.

Read Mark’s incredible attitude to the hand he’s been dealt out now in Bella. Mark was supported by WAY – widowed and young. If you have been widowed young, visit www.widowedandyoung.org.uk for support.  Mark writes an amazing blog here. 

This isn’t an easy read, but it’s poignant and beautiful and Jon’s attitude towards the double tragedy he and wife Vikki faced is utterly gorgeous. Because he’s glad he had the little time he had with his twin sons. He’s grateful to the medical team who tried to save their lives, the friends he made while living in the worst possible circumstances, the kindness of those who helped his family during their time of need. It’s these things he focuses on – what a wonderful man he is.

Daughter Cecily Hope was born just a few weeks ago, making this coming Father’s Day both a happy and a sad one for Jon. Read his story in Best now…

Jon was supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities, a home away from home for families in his position. Find out more at www.rmhc.org.uk

 

It was such an honour to work with Svetlana on her memories of Chernobyl – and a real inspiration to hear her thoughts and musings on how not to live in the shadow of such a terrifying and traumatic experience.

The chernobyl nuclear disaster shook the world and although I’ve always known vaguely what happened, interviewing Svetlana gave me insight into what really happened. It makes for a harrowing yet inspiring read – out now in Best.

Donna shares her story of how she watched Parkinson’s disease overwhelm her grandmother and her mother. Now battling it herself, Donna is such a brave and courageous woman, determined to give her own daughter the best life she can. It’s too soon to know if Beau has inherited Parkinson’s too but Donna lives in fear that she has.

With donations, research into Parkinson’s will find a cure before Beau grows up. Please visit Parkinson’s UK to donate.

Donna’s story is out now in Bella.

I worked with the fab dating agency Lumen on this piece for Woman’s Own, interviewing Angela and Kamay about their dating world. Online dating is such a normal part of the dating world now, but some profiles are more successful than others… read our piece to find out why!

Lumen is aimed at the over 50s – you can find out more here.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house while I was working on this story – Jon’s love for his wife Rach shone through his words and it was an honour to write for him.

Over on my ‘charity’ page you can see the link for Jon’s fundraising campaign – he’s raising money for Breast Cancer Care to thank the charity for the support they gave his family during Rach’s cancer battle.

His story is out now in Bella.

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

Always extra specially proud of my stories for and about the Down’s syndrome community – here’s this week’s piece in Woman’s Own magazine celebrating Sophie and Joe, two brilliant kids who have brought sunshine and sparkle to their family and friends – and who happen to have Down’s syndrome. Their mums, Cassy and Vikki, were interviewed about the looming sense that science is attempting to eradicate future cases of Down’s syndrome – and what a sad world that would be.

Every time I write about Down’s syndrome, I hope that we help undo the tide of misinformation that has swept society for decades. Out now in Woman’s Own.

 

I had over 200 people get in touch wanting to be a part of this report – which goes to show what a mess we’re in! Too many kids are being passed around the system yet overlooked, while their parents are being made to feel like they are the problem.

This report, which I worked on for Scope, the disability charity, is in Take a Break this week. It is a very interesting, and sad, read. If you are affected by the details in this report please do visit the Scope website – they are a wonderful charity.