The personalities behind the 21 Faces posters

Campaign aims to celebrate uniqueness and diversity of children with Down syndrome

Noah Kelly gets a lift up to see his poster.

Noah Kelly gets a lift up to see his poster.

 

Archie Stanley

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Holly

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Testimonial by his mum, Nicola Smith

However, I keep coming back to what’s important and what I want to share with everyone. Now, now is what I want to tell everyone about. This unbelievably amazing moment we live in now; that is our everyday life.

Our everyday ordinary life is made extraordinary by one amazing little boy. This is the place we never thought we would be happy.

Archie wakes up every morning shouting Mammy, Dada, sometimes before the sun rises, and greets you with his big beautiful cheeky smile. The days when I worried I’d never hear him call for me have become a distant memory.

When he walks into a room full of strangers, I watch him say hello or give someone a high five or again that cheeky smile. I watch the strangers’ faces, how they’re smiling from their hearts and their days have just been made better from a chance meeting with Archie.

I love the beautiful people he has made his sisters become. He has taught them patience and empathy and what it is to be yourself, to be unique.

He has taught them to understand life and to just enjoy every moment.

You see that’s Archie. He has a way of making you feel happy. Blissfully happy. He makes life make sense. He does it all by being himself.

Even his unbelievable infuriating stubbornness gives me a giggle because I know it’s a personality trait he has inherited from me. His positive attitude to any obstacles he faces, he gets that from his dad. His craziness reminds me of his sister when she was his age and his laid-back attitude to life is exactly the same as his other sister. You see, that’s what makes me happy, an everyday reminder that before any diagnosis, Archie is a person first. He is Archie and we adore every piece of him.

Testimonial by Triona Cussen, Team 21 Tots co-ordinator

I have been extremely privileged to witness his first steps. I’m enjoying watching him standing up from sitting at the moment and I just know he will be running around in no time.

Archie loves socialising so it’s not surprising one of his first signs was “friends”. He is always one of the first to clap when I’ve finished a song and he loves participating in the class.

His speech is coming along great as well. I know once he’s talking fluently, he will be such a character.

Lara Gilson

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Testimonial by her mum, Jackie Carlile

Love, as I’ve witnessed her survive when the odds were medically stacked against her. Pride, as I’ve watched her overcome countless physical, intellectual and social challenges. Lara has overcome challenges through her own determination and hard work, but also through the services she receives from the Down Syndrome Centre.

The staff see Lara as I see her, a little girl with huge abilities rather than a condition with restrictions.

The benefits of Lara’s occupational therapy are obvious as she balances and jumps during her local ballet class alongside her peers. She is a pure joy to watch.

So is listening to Lara telling her friends, “knock knock” jokes. She always laughs loudly before the punch line.

The confidence and social skills to do this were gained from attending Skip.

For me the most rewarding benefit has come from her speech therapy.

I listen to my kind, intelligent, beautiful and funny daughter say “Mammy I love you”. With tears of love and admiration, I reply, “Lara I love you too, you’re amazing.” Testimonial by Claire Mullally, speech and language therapist Lara has been such a joy to get to know. She is eager to learn and engages very well in her speech sessions. Lara and her sister are the trendsetters in the centre, always dressed in the most fashionable clothes. I have witnessed Lara becoming more comfortable and confident in her interactions with others and it is always a pleasure to work with her.

Noah Kelly

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Testimonial by his mum, Jennie Carty

Noah attends Team 21 Tots at the centre, which he really enjoys. He has grown in confidence with the help of Triona who is a wonderful teacher.

Testimonial by Triona Cussen, Team 21 Tots co-ordinator

Caoimhe

McNally

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Testimonial by her mum, Carina McNally

Since the surgery she has come on in bounds, and now at 18 months, she has a mischievous little personality and loves to be in the thick of things at home, and is never happier than when she’s dishing out hugs and kisses to anyone who happens to be around.

She loves bath time with Aisling, story time with Daniel, play time with her cousins and cuddle time with mammy and daddy, and of course Team 21 Tots in the Down Syndrome Centre.

Thirteen weeks into the pregnancy, we were told that Caoimhe had Down syndrome. We were terrified . . . we didn’t know what the future held for her or for us and her brother and sister, but she has brought our whole family on this amazing journey.

She is an inspiring little woman who has brought so much to our family and has given us a strength that we didn’t know we had.

She makes us smile every day and we’re so thankful that we were chosen to be her mammy and daddy.

Testimonial by Triona Cussen, Team 21 Tots co-ordinator

Every time I make eye contact with her she is beaming. She loves a camera and is a professional at posing and getting the cutest pictures. She loves interacting with her friends. Caoimhe has been such a wonderful addition to our class.

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