October is Down Syndrome Awareness month! October 01 2018, 24 Comments
We recently collaborated with Jess Roberts from Learning from Luke, on a campaign she is driving for Down Syndrome Awareness - Jess has the cutest little son called Luke who has Down Syndrome. Please read this enlightening and incredible story below as Jess shares she journey with us, enjoy!
If there is one sentence that we as first-time parents never in our wildest dreams expected to hear it was “Your child has 99% chance that he will be born with Down Syndrome”.
I had never even met a person born with Down Syndrome and our entire world was turned upside down and inside out with the utterance of these words from the neonatal specialist.
Jon and I knew however once these words had been said that we would be keeping our child. Call it gut intuition, call it a leap of faith, or call it a feeling of deep and profound love and connection towards our unborn first child, but we knew that he was ours and we knew that he would be life changing.
We vowed that we would do all that we could to ensure that our child was welcomed with open arms into this often hostile and scary world. We vowed that we would do every last thing that we could to show him each and every day how wanted he was and how we chose him to be ours. We pledged that we would do everything in our power to showcase to our family, to our friends, to our community and ultimately to the world the beauty, joy and light of our son. We wanted to educate, we wanted to create awareness and we wanted to shout from the rooftops the love that we felt for our son.
Two and a half years on and this is still our pledge.
When Luke was born I started a blog and an Instagram page to deal in a selfish way with a myriad of emotions that I felt and was attempting to process. Looking back I would never have believed that that little blog would have had over 30 000 views and our Instagram page @learningfromluke would have over 5000 followers.
It fills my heart with an incredible amount of joy to know that we have reached, educated and touched that many lives, and that we do so on a daily basis. It is only through the exposure, through the education and through the awareness of our beautiful children that the world will ultimately become a kinder, more inclusive and more aware place, and this has been our ultimate goal.
October which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month holds an incredible amount of importance for us and this year I wanted to do something meaningful and close to my heart.
Luke has been a brand ambassador for a number of local brands, and having been in the fashion industry for the past nine and a half years, clothing has always been a big part of my life.
My dream for Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2018 was to showcase beautiful local brands, modelled by beautiful local children born with Down Syndrome, shot in a beautiful local location and by one of the best local photographers.
On the 26thof August on the North Coast of KZN this dream came to life and the #JUSTLIKEUSKIDS campaign was born. 8 families, all with children born with Down Syndrome came together, dressed in their respective local brands and the resulting pictures taken by the talented Derryn Schmidt were nothing but pure, pure magic. Derryn so accurately captured the pure love, the pure joy and the pure light that our kids exude.
The idea behind the #JUSTLIKEUSKIDS campaign is that our children born with Down Syndrome can be anything and do anything that they put their minds to. They can be brand ambassadors, they can be models, they can be trendsetters – they can be anything that you and I dream of and more. Our children are not defined by their diagnosis and they are more alike you and I than different.
My dream with the #JUSTLIKEUSKIDS is to start a movement. A movement whereby us as a family, us as a community, us as a nation and indeed us as global citizens stand up, with a collective voice and say YES. YES to kindness, YES to inclusivity, to awareness, to love. YES to not only embracing differences but to celebrating them. YES to dreams, dreams so big that they scare the hell out of us. YES to the future and YES to our children being able to be whatever they want to be.
Thank you to Kerryn and KAPAS for so readily jumping at the chance to be involved in my dream. You went above and beyond. Thank you for embracing this movement and for being part of the change that we want to see in the world.