Today 21 March is World Down Syndrome Day.
Down News is featuring a touching article of Aileen Hamill from Ardglass and her daughter Nicola as she shares her very positive experience they have had with Mencap.
Aileen Hamill has explained how Mencap have helped her family ahead of World Down Syndrome Day.
Across the globe, people are encouraged to share the valuable contributions they make to society as well as raising awareness about how negative perceptions can prevent people with Down syndrome reaching their potential.
Every year, learning disability charity Mencap supports children and young people with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, and Aileen Hamill from Ardglass and her baby daughter Nicola are just one of the families in Northern Ireland who are benefiting from this support. Nicola is 17-months old and was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome at birth.
When Aileen left the hospital with her beautiful new baby daughter, she felt she had very little support in relation to Nicola’s learning disability. She heard about the Mencap’s Family Support Programme, through another parent and visited the charity’s Open Day at the Mencap Centre in Belfast. Since then, Mencap has been helping Aileen and her family with advice and parent support courses.
Aileen explained that during a time when she had so many sometimes difficult questions, Mencap was able to provide answers.
She said: “I’m not afraid of what’s going to happen in 10 or 20 years, because I have gained so much information from Mencap.
“I now know about the services Mencap provides, from supported living to an employment service, all of which Nicola can benefit from as she gets older.
“Mencap offers courses for parents such as the E-PAtS parent support course, which I have benefited from. It was developed by Dr Nick Gore from the Tizzard Centre at the University of Kent. The charity has also provided me with the opportunity to meet and share experiences with other parents who also have a child with a learning disability.
“The team at Mencap are absolutely fantastic. They have showed me the life that my daughter can have and made such a massive difference to the first year of Nicola’s life.”
If you would like to help raise much needed funds for Mencap NI and help more children like Nicola get the best start in life, you can #MoveIt4Mencap and sign up for the 2018 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in aid of the charity.
You can choose an event to suit you on Monday 7 May – either the full Marathon Run & Wheelchair Race, Team Relay, 8 Mile Walk or Fun Run.
or call 028 90 691351 for information or to register.