From small acorns…. Amelia’s lockdown story

 In Down Syndrome Community Voices, Down Syndrome News, In The Media

Amelia is 4.5 years old and has been in lockdown for 10 weeks. Probably like most of the UK, our lockdown days have been pretty much like ‘Groundhog Day’, each day resembling the last.

Like many, Amelia doesn’t understand why she suddenly stopped going to school or why she could no longer see her muchbeloved family but has coped brilliantly on the whole.  Lockdown also meant I had a bit more time to devote to Amelia’s page so I started posting about how she was coping with lockdown and how she was spending her days.

I started to think about how I could get more followers to Amelia’s page. Social media had become even more of an outlet for people during these unprecedented times and I wanted to take advantage of that in a positive way. After all, Amelia’s page is all about raising awareness, changing attitudes and reaching out to new and expectant parents, so the larger the audience the better.  After much deliberation I decided to put a post on the large lockdown group on Facebook (Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas). Amelia at the time had 714 followers (which had grown slowly over time) and anyone who has an awareness page will tell you that it is quite difficult attracting more followers to your page. Anyway, the response was amazing, Amelia’s followers went from 714 to 5.5k in a day. The best part was that six mums messaged me to say they had either just had a baby or were about to have a baby with Down Syndrome and they were so glad they found Amelia’s page as she was an inspiration to them.

The last 2 weeks of our lockdown has been a whirlwind of events. On International Nurses Day, I made a nurses outfit for Amelia and put a picture on her page, to acknowledge and thank all the amazing nurses for the work they do. Two of Amelia’s new followers saw the picture and suggested I submit it to the #holdstill2020 project which I did. The project is spearheaded by the Duchess of Cambridge and is entitled A Portrait of our Nation in 2020. Its aim is to capture the spirit, mood, hopes, fears and feelings of the nation as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.

To be honest, I’d forgotten all about it until about 10 days later when a friend messaged me to say they’d seen Amelia’s picture on William and Kate’s Instagram story (kensingtonroyal), then a couple of Amelia’s followers told us they had also seen her in the Daily Mail newspaper. Amelia’s picture had been chosen by Kate as one of her favourites so far in the #holdstill2020 project and had been showcased on social media and online newspapers. Wouldn’t Change A Thing, an amazing charity for which Amelia is an Ambassador, also shared her story.

Alongside this happening, a lovely lady, Rachel Mason, had also contacted me to see if we wanted to enter one of Amelia’s pictures in an online International Arts Festival called ‘Unlock Your Talent’ to raise money for mental health, and we happily obliged. Gaby Roslin liked Amelia’s post on Instagram of her holding her drawing and started following her. Gaby then put Amelia on her Instagram story with a lovely comment. The interest in Amelia’s story was growing. A local newspaper showed Amelia’s story online, which resulted in Amelia being asked to draw a raffle for an amazing local project called Sea of Smiles, also raising money for charity.  Then on Monday night, I received a notification to say Gaby Roslin was live, so I clicked on it.

Gaby Roslin was talking live to Paul O’Grady. I sent a heart emoji because I was enjoying listening to both of them and the next minute Gaby says ‘we have a very special guest that has joined us, Amelia May Changing Attitudes’. I couldn’t believe it! I was shouting at my husband to come and watch and Amelia quickly came over because she heard her name. Gaby gave a lovely shout out to Amelia and her page and asked Paul to say hello to Amelia also. Amelia was delighted and was waving at the phone saying hello.

Finally, yesterday I received an email from BBC Radio London to say that Gaby Roslin is interviewing Rachel Mason about the Unlock Your Talent festival on Sunday 31st May at 3.10pm and she would like to interview me also about Amelia and her achievements so as you can imagine were absolutely delighted.

We don’t know how long this amazing whirlwind will last but we’ll continue to enjoy it while it does. Amelia’s story really is one of the positives to come out of this lockdown and is proof that from small acorns great oaks do grow. The support Amelia has received via her page has been amazing and in return we have received so many messages to say she has brightened up people’s days and given others so much inspiration.<

We’re proud beyond words that our little girl, who is totally oblivious to everything that has happened, is helping spread awareness just by being the amazing little person she is.

For more information or support – enquires@makingchromosomescount.co.uk
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