Our first WCAT 2022 ambassador introduction is 10 month old Jude Woods. Jude’s mum tells us more.
“Jude is 10 months old and has already achieved so much in a short space of time. We are so excited that he is an ambassador for 2022 and certainly Wouldn’t Change A Thing!
Jude’s smile is just wonderful and truly infectious. When he gives you that smile you can’t help but smile back and his presence truly lights up a room. He is such a happy and loving boy.
Jude had open heart surgery not long after he was born and has shown such bravery and resilience in overcoming this. We couldn’t believe how quickly he recovered from his operation. Jude spent 5 days recovering before Birmingham Children’s hospital deemed him well enough to go home. He is such a trooper and makes us proud every day.
Jude is a true lockdown baby, born during the COVID19 pandemic. He has not let this stop him and attends swimming lessons, baby sensory class, playgroup and rhythm time, developing his motor skills and making friends young and old along the way. As well as being a WCAT ambassador he is also a model for Bonnie & Betty modelling agency.
Jude is also a little brother to 7-year-old Izzy. The bond that these two have developed makes our heart swell. Every time Jude sees his sister he gives her the biggest smile. Jude and Izzy love spending time playing together and having cuddles at every opportunity!
Jude wasn’t named after the famous ‘Hey Jude’ song by the Beatles however its now a firm favourite in our house with Jude providing smiles and laughs when we all sing: Na na na nananana, nananana hey Jude!”
You can follow Jude on his Social Media by using the following links:
Jordan-Grace was one of our 2021 Ambassadors and is joining us again for 2022.
Thanks to her mum Maria for this re-introduction.
‘Jordan Grace is a vibrant seven year old little lady. She learned to read at four years old just like her big sister. She loves with her entire heart, she is adventurous, she is willing to try new things with caution. She lives life to the fullest each and every day!
JG is fully included in her 2nd grade classroom. She’s very blessed with a great team who loves her, respects her and see her full potential.
The genetics doctor pushed us to abort twice, it was very difficult for us to see what life would be like. He had nothing good to say about Down syndrome. But life with our precious Jordan Grace couldn’t be better! She’s valued for who she is and she’s equally worthy of life just like her sisters.’
You can follow Jordan Grace on her Social Media using the following links:
14 year old Caleb is one of our 2022 Wouldn’t Change A Thing Ambassadors.
His mum Karen introduces him here.
‘Hi everyone – this is Caleb! He’s an energetic 14-year-old living in Florida, USA. We are thrilled to be back as an ambassador for Wouldn’t Change a Thing for a third year in 2022.
Caleb is in 9th grade at school and participates in many clubs and after-school events there, including an inclusive theatre club. He’s been modeling since 2016 – both runway and print, and is signed with a few talent agencies (California, New York, Florida) and has filmed a commercial for Disney. He walked in the Miami “Runway of Dreams” show in the spring and had a blast, featuring accessible clothing. He was featured in Vintage New York magazine in 2017 as one of the “new faces changing perceptions” about Down syndrome. He loves to dance on-stage and has performed in front of hundreds at Talent Shows.
Caleb loves to cook and can be found most evenings helping Dad out in the kitchen at home, or helping Mom learn how to cook. He does a Live show most Fridays on his Facebook Page where we make fun and easy recipes. He has been on the Cooking Stage at the Southern Women’s Show with Dad – “Cooking with Caleb” and was on the Today Show (Jan 2020) featuring the cooking kit program Raddish Kids. He also has his own You Tube (Caleb’s Crew). Since COVID, he’s led a number of groups in cooking events via Zoom.
Caleb discovered the sport of Triathlon early 2021 and joined the Special Olympics Florida team last January. He’s been training and working hard ever since. Since June 2021, Caleb has completed 5 full-sprint triathlons and is the youngest person with Down syndrome to complete one! We are amazingly proud of him. He was asked to join Team Florida Triathlon for the USA Special Olympics Games in 2022, so we are ramping up his training to prepare for that fantastic event. He also plays golf and rides on the Equestrian team. He has recently joined the USA Down Syndrome Swimming team and has some exciting news coming about a partnership with the USA Triathlon organization.
Caleb loves traveling and has been to Italy, Greece and the Caribbean many times. He loves his family and is passionate about giving back to his church and community. “Let’s Do It” is his motto, and not much stands in his way!
You can follow Caleb on his Social Media using the following links:
You can also find Caleb on TikTok:
Introducing the one and only River, our ambassador from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania!
A whirlwind of fun, mischief and determination. He attends an international school where he was the first person with additional needs and the only student with Down syndrome. He loves school and is very loved by both the students and his teachers. He is fully including, loving class time alongside the sports and drama that he loves! He has an aide who is helping him reach his full potential, whilst just enjoying being a kid amongst friends.
He loves sports and is extremely active. He goes to Taekwondo, loves his bike and is never far from a football. His family have a farm that he loves to do chores at and is learning so much from caring for his animals and crops. It’s his favourite place to be.
His favourite things are cars, his pets, travel, the beach, hiking, swimming and Power Rangers. He also loves watching Jamie Oliver cooking shows and is always “helping” in the kitchen. He enjoys playing Mario karts, playing board games and is learning to play with his new pool table. He is never afraid of a challenge!
He is proving his worth every single day, just by living his life and being himself
You can follow River on his Social Media using the following links:
Here we have the next of our 2022 Ambassador introductions. Meet Kush!
‘This is Kush, he is 8 years old! Kush has 2 younger sisters and is a confident, charming & cheeky little man!! He and his sisters are lucky to be surrounded by 2 sets of grandparents, and aunties and uncles in abundance who love him more than life itself.
As a family, it’s no secret that we struggled when he was born. Our first child, the first grandchild….his diagnosis definitely came as a shock. We were held back by our ignorance.
Nearly 9 years on and this little man has taught us more than anything in this life. He’s fierce, determined, stubborn, happy go lucky, hilarious, cheeky and is unapologetically him. He loves music, is excited to go to school every day, and he’s brilliant at shooting hoops! He has the most beautiful smile and infectious laugh. He is everything good in this world.
The biggest things that hold him back are the judgements & assumptions frequently made by others. Whist we have come so far as a society, we still have a way to go, and this is why we try our hardest to rebalance the overwhelmingly negative narrative. Kush is so proud to be an ambassador of Wouldn’t Change a thing. I don’t want ANY of my children growing up in a world that leads them to believe they aren’t valuable. If we have to work a little harder for people to realise that of one of my children over the others – then that’s exactly what we’ll do!
I thank our son every day (ok maybe not every day but more often than not…) for giving me the privilege of being his mother. In my eyes he is perfect.’
You can follow Kush on his Social Media using the following links:
Meet Bertie, our next 2022 Ambassador!
Bertie’s mum Melissa tells us more about her beautiful boy.
‘Beautiful inquisitive charismatic magical (and destructive!) Bertie Baxter – the beating heart of our family. Bertie was 2 last October and is now walking at home, he starts nursery this month – what a long way he has come from his 7 hour open heart surgery 2 years ago.
I had Bertie’s Down syndrome and AVSD (heart defect) diagnosis very early on in pregnancy which gave me lots of time to educate myself and prepare for his arrival- which took place in front of a film crew and has now been viewed over 14 million times – absolutely crazy! I think that is part of the reason Bertie has a huge army of followers that are very invested in him and want to be part of his journey, that and of course he is extremely cute! His extra chromosome has certainly added extra depth to his magic, we can’t go into a supermarket without people wanting to talk to him and touch him (it’s been a bit of a challenge with the pandemic getting people to keep their distance!)
Bertie has an older brother, Dei who he adores, though I think Dei regularly questions that as he gets the brunt of ‘Basher Bertie’ and ‘I’m practicing to be the worlds best shot putter Bertie’. Bertie loves kisses and cuddles and it melts me every time to see Bertie wake Dei up with kisses and lots of affection.
We feel very privileged to be able to share Bertie’s life with you and deeply honoured for him to be asked back as a Ambassador, we all love being part of the WCAT family!!’
Bertie and Melissa featured in the BBC series Life and Birth (Series 1, Episode 4). It’s still available on iPlayer and well worth a watch!
Our next 2022 Ambassador is Pippa, who was also an ambassador in 2021!
Mum Samm introduces her to us.
‘Hello! This is Pippa who is just turning 16 and lives in the southwest of England. Pippa attends her local mainstream secondary school which she absolutely loves and where she is a prefect, member of the school choir and dance club and an active member of the school community. Her favourite subjects are science, agriculture, music and PE and she also enjoys cooking in her life skills lessons with her best friends. During the lockdowns of the last couple of years, Pippa has really enjoyed baking cakes and sweet treats with her Mum and sister, and now says that baking is something she would like to do as a job in the future.
Pippa does lots of activities in her spare time. She is a keen Girl Guide and is working towards her Gold award at the moment; rides fortnightly at a local stables and having outgrown her favourite pony Roly Mo, is moving on to a bigger pony in her next lesson; attends a Saturday theatre school where she loves to sing and dance; does archery which is great for developing her fine motor skills and swims weekly. It’s a busy life for Pippa!
Pippa loves to watch Strictly Come Dancing and her favourite professional dancer is Giovanni who she has been lucky enough to see live and even meet! Her dream is to be able to dance with him! She also loves The Masked Singer, Dancing on Ice, Ninja Warrior, Blankety Blank and she is a massive Friends fan with Chandler being her favourite character “because he is funny”! Pippa can also do a fantastic version of Joey’s catchphrase “how you doin’?” which makes everyone laugh.
This year should be an eventful one for Pippa as she will (hopefully, COVID permitting) have her school Prom which she is very excited about, move on to college and the whole family have a dream holiday booked for later in the year which will include Pippa’s first time flying!
Pippa lives with her Mum, Dad, two siblings Jemima and Dougal, two cats and Jemima’s pet snake. Jemima and Pippa are particularly close, like best friends, and Jemima loves filming things for Wouldn’t Change a Thing alongside Pippa. The whole family are thrilled to be involved with WCAT because we passionately believe in raising positive awareness of Down syndrome, celebrating achievements but also sharing the challenges that we face and how we attempt to overcome them.’
This is a link to a youtube video made by Jemima to highlight inclusivity within Girl Guiding which documents Pippa’s Guiding journey https://youtu.be/slqcUyTDyEs
You can follow Pippa on her Social Media using the following links:
4 year old Carlson was one of our ambassadors in 2021 and joins the team again this year.
Kassie, his mum, told us about her beautiful boy.
‘Carlson is 4 years old. He is funny, kind, smart with a big helping of mischief. He keeps us on our toes with Carlson no day is the same. He is non stop all day every day. He adds fun, laughter and joy (ok chaos too! )to our lives. He has shown us what is important and because of him we have learned to live more in the present day and appreciate the little things. Every milestone is celebrated in our home. Our life may be a bit different than expected but it is no less, that’s for sure.
Carlson is popular at nursery especially with the girls! He is preparing to start primary school in September. He loves dancing, music, painting, parks, and loves animals. He is now a marvel fan with his favourite being spider-man He is a model for Zebedee Talent.
His siblings adore him and he has added so much to their lives. From him they have learned things not taught in the classroom. They will grow with empathy, compassion, understanding and kindness and is what the world needs more of.
That is why we are so honoured for Carlson to be chosen as a WCAT Ambassador for the second year as we want to help show the world that people worth Down syndrome should be valued, respected, and treated as individuals. We want to give a insight into our lives as we think it’s pretty amazing! To know Carlson is to love him.
The midwife did not got it wrong when she wrote ‘perfect’ on Carlson’s notes, because he is down right perfect and we wouldn’t change a thing.’
You can follow Carlson on his Social Media by using the following links:
We are delighted to introduce the next member of our ambassador team for 2022, Liam.
‘Hello, my name is Liam, I am 17 and live with my mum and dad and our dog scooby, my older brother Jason is 19 and away at University. I have a very close relationship with my Grandma and Grandad who live close by and I see a lot of them.
I have a very busy social life which includes dancing, drama, bike riding, horse riding, taekwondo, watching Sheffield United and I am also have driving lessons which I LOVE !!
I have also walked for several designers in various fashion shows, the latest was for ‘Be unique be you’ at Liverpool Fashion Week 2019 and I am currently represented by the Model/Acting agency VisABLE. In August 2021 I was chosen to be a Supporting Actor in the BBC Drama series Doctors, I travelled to Birmingham twice for the ‘shootings’ and I was filmed in various locations, it was a fantastic experience and was amazing to see myself on TV when the series was aired in November this year. I love my life and live every moment to the fullest, I hope I can be a true inspiration to others to inspire them to go out and have a go at anything they want to.’
Liam’s family say;
‘His confident attitude sends out positive perceptions of just what children/young people with Down syndrome can achieve and he brings so much love and joy to our family, friends and even strangers with his infectious smile. Liam is a loving, caring and outgoing young man who just happens to have an extra chromosome.
Liam had a fantastic year as WCAT Ambassador in 2021 and we were thrilled to be asked to stay on again for 2022.’
You can follow Liam on his Social Media using the following links:
Introducing our next WCAT Ambassador for 2022, 8 year old Abigail, is her mum Enid.
‘Abigail is 8 years old and the oldest of four siblings – she has two younger sisters and one younger brother. She was born in Uganda, Africa and we moved to Canada when she was 4 years old.
She attends a catholic school and is in the skill development class. Before the pandemic she would also spend time in the regular class with other children, but due to social distancing and children not mixing classes she doesn’t at the moment. She loves to play with her siblings, tea parties, singing, soccer, running, and riding her tricycle. She loves to pose for pictures!
Abigail can communicate with words but still has speech therapy to help her speech develop. We love her so much.’
We are delighted that 2021 WCAT Ambassador Thomas is joining us again as an ambassador for 2022.
Thanks to mum, Alison, for introducing him again this evening.
‘Thomas is 9 and from a British family who live in the Netherlands. He lives with his mum Alison, dad John and 14 year old brother Daniel.
After a standard pregnancy, Thomas was born via emergency c-section. His first 6 months where medically difficult, including a 5 week NICU stay, where doctors diagnosed Down syndrome and AVSD (a heart condition). He had heart surgery at 16 weeks and diaphragmatic hernia surgery at 20 weeks. He also had pulmonary hypertension and a feeding tube till he was 10 months old.
But this didn’t stop him! Thomas has always been determined and full of life. He defied every obstacle and smashed every hurdle put in his way. He has this way of grabbing people’s attention and hearts; his smile lights up the room, he’s loving, kind and fiercely empathetic, he can read people’s moods better than most adults.
He is fun and mischievous, he makes friends wherever he goes, he loves singing, dancing, playing football, playing with his brother and his brother’s friends, who all look past his Down syndrome only seeing a cool, funny little boy.
He also loves a challenge!
His biggest challenge has been learning a second language. Thomas has attended a Dutch SEN nursery since he was 3 years old, he transitioned to SEN school when he was 6.
When he first started at nursery there was concern over his language acquisition skills, but within weeks he was signing in Dutch.
Within a year he was speaking words in both English and Dutch. He’s now 9 and still has a small speech delay, but over the past 6 months we’ve seen huge jump in both languages.
We’ve been involved with Wouldn’t Change a Thing for a few years. Thomas is so proud to be involved with Wouldn’t Change a Thing, he recognises the logo, he gets excited whenever there is a new project, he can name children and parents he’s never met, but he “knows them” from the videos and stories.
He tells people he’s an ambassador. I think he just loves the feeling of be represented.
One of his 2021 highlights was watching The National Diversity Awards, he was so excited and cheering when they announced Wouldn’t Change a Thing winners.
We couldn’t be prouder of him, he’s everything we could have asked for and more.’
Our next 2022 ambassador is Keldan.
Mum, Kirsty, introduces him to us.
‘Keldan is 5 in April. We had a post natal diagnosis – we hadn’t run any of the tests as we went through many many years of trying for children and ended up having IVF to have our eldest boy. Whilst going through are many years of trying we had discussed adoption and both agreed we would like to adopt a child with Down syndrome (something I would still love to do). When Keldan was born I knew instantly and so led the whole diagnosis.
Keldan attends a mainstream school and after some initial teething problems we seem to be going in the right direction. He currently doesn’t attend full time but we are hoping this will change in the very near future.
Keldan has 3 brothers (2 older, one younger) and 1 older sister.
Kel definitely rules the roost in our house! He is pre verbal and so has a habit of shouting a lot to communicate, which as you can imagine does get a little hard going. I have definitely noticed that since starting school he is attempting to speak more than before. We are very lucky that his general health is good. There is a question around possible sleep apnoea and are currently awaiting a sleep study as he hasn’t ever had one.
We live in a little town and Keldan is known by so many, who always wave and speak to him. He definitely has a way of getting people’s attention. At home he very much learns from his older brothers – he loves to fight and play rough and finds it hilarious when he pins his younger brother down.
Our lives are most definitely full on to say the least but would I change a thing…… Well maybe volume control would be good!
We are so blessed to have been chosen to represent Wouldn’t Change a Thing for a second year running and hope to do you all proud.’
You can follow Keldan on his Social Media using the following links:
We are delighted that 2021 WCAT Ambassador Jessica is joining the team again for 2022!
Thanks to Jessica’s mum Nicola for her introduction.
‘Jessica is an enchanting 18 year old young lady. She lives in Liverpool with her Mum, Nicola, Step-Dad Thomas and young brother Patrick who is 5. She also have a beautiful cockapoo dog called Billy. Her warmth and positivity is captivating, making those around her instantly drawn to her.
She is in her last year of 6th Form College and is about to transition into adult services and all that entails. Like with every transition she takes it in her stride and it’s Mum who needlessly worries herself sick!
Jessica loves performing and making people laugh and feel good. She has been acting since a young age and has an array of experience both on-stage & on screen. She has been represented by talent agency Zebedee for 3 years now and has had some amazing opportunities because of this.
Outside of acting and modelling Jessica lives life to the fullest. She loves trying new things and has a thirst for adventure. She is often found singing, writing her own songs and dancing in her free time. She’s a competitive swimmer and award winning horse rider.
Jessica has many hopes and dreams for the future including having her own accommodation, living independently, having relationships, having a job she enjoys and being able to make her own choices about her life.
Jessica is looking forward to being an ambassador for a second year on the run, enabling her to dispel outdated negative stereotypes of Down syndrome within her local community and worldwide.’
You can follow Jessica on her Social Media using the following links:
Introducing our next WCAT Ambassador for 2022, 17 year old Michael Asbury from Bedfordshire, England.
Jenny, Michael’s mum, tells us more.
‘Michael is the youngest of six. He is undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to our blended family.
When he isn’t playing sport, dancing , cycling or watching YouTube, he is mastering his magic card tricks.
Michael is such a thrill seeker and even jumped out of a plane when he was 15. Michael lives for the moment, all is well is his world as you can see.
We are looking forward to getting involved with this wonderful charity while promoting the unique beauty of Down syndrome!
Our next WCAT Ambassador for 2022 is 2 year old Aidan. His mum Máire, introduces him.
‘This is Aidan. He’s 2 1/2 years old and loves (in no particular order) food, balls, dogs, cars, his big brother, dancing, singing, kisses and cuddles!
Since Aidan turned up in our family rocking his extra chromosome, he has brought us so much laughter and joy. Where ever we go, Aidan makes people smile with his cheeky little smile and the way he dances like no one’s watching. He never fails to amaze us! He is learning Makaton like a hero and over the last few weeks has just started walking around everywhere. He’s addition to our family that we never knew we needed.’
You can follow Aidan’s adventures on his Social Media using the following:
6 year old Xaria, from Puerto Rico joins our Wouldn’t Change A Thing Ambassador team for 2022.
She is introduced this evening by her mum, Carla.
‘After 9 years together and 2 without contraception, we finally received the great news that we were expecting a baby. The emotion was unimaginable but, because I was close to my 40s, the doctor recommended screening to rule out any genetic condition in our baby. It was a perfect pregnancy, without discomfort, without pain … just perfect. When the results of the non-invasive prenatal test finally came in it turned out that our long-awaited daughter would have Down syndrome. I remember that our world collapsed, we cried almost a whole day, we really felt sadness, despair and a broken heart. Got only 1 day did I allow pain to invade us. I told my husband: “My pregnancy has been perfect and we have a lot to do and I am not going to let this news (which may be a false positive) ruin my experience”. We began to fix her room, to choose her name and we gave ourselves to God. We prayed and prayed that our girl will be born healthy. I started prenatal yoga and stayed active by exercising. The day before our daughter was born, we went to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant. We were ready to receive her on the day I reached my 40 weeks. I did not dilate, and after 9 hours we had a cesarean section. My first question to my husband as soon as she was born was “tell me, does she have it?” I hoped in my heart that he would say no but his answer was “yes”. I felt disappointed in God and confused until they brought her and put her on my chest …WOW it was love at first sight. I loved her, period, there was nothing more to say. I spent just several days wondering why, if I had asked God for my daughter to be born healthy. Until I understood that my prayers were answered, and in what way. I understood that Down syndrome is not a disease and that in fact my daughter was born super healthy as I prayed for. Her perfect heart, her super healthy digestive system, her perfect ears, her eyesight, moderate hypotonia … well, what more could I ask for?
Xaria has always had an angel, she has always been surrounded by love and acceptance. Her red hair and blue-green eyes dazzle everyone. I have included her in everything that I have understood that she might like, without thinking about her “disability” and I have never allowed her condition to define her. She went to regular preschool when she was 18 months old and she was the only participant who still did not know how to walk and it was not an impediment, she was welcomed and loved from the first day. She was in gymnastics classes, survival classes in the water (a typical child takes 4 weeks to complete the course but Xaria took twice as long but since her teacher fell in love with her she did not charge anything for the extra time), in ballet classes and finally Bomba classes (typical dance of Puerto Rico) in which she has been for 2 years now and is the soul of the class. She is focused, follows instructions and has a great disposition, and thus they have also involved her in groups to learn to play the drums. Xaria has attended a regular Montessori school since she was 3 years old in which, as stipulated in her individualized plans (IEP), she develops in accordance with her peers. She has made friends, she gives plenty of hugs, helps the teachers with the children younger than her, follows instructions, is a leader and loves to sing. At 6 years old Xaria writes her name by herself, counts to 20 in Spanish and to 10 in English, knows all primary colors in both languages, knows the geometrical shapes and is learning to read.
I look back and I regret having suffered and wasted time due to fear. I remember thinking that she wouldn’t be able to get married or go to her prom but how many people do we all know that haven’t gotten married or didn’t go to Prom through their own choice? My dreams or expectations do not need to be hers, she will have her own. I know that difficult times will come, that her life will not be all roses and butterflies, but whose life is? This only thing certain that I only know, is that I WILL be here and that I WILL be the wind so that she can fly high.’
Daniele is 17 years old and the youngest of three. He is thankful to be an ambassador for WCAT and excited to be a part of the upcoming projects in 2022! This evening we hear from Daniele and his mum Michele.
‘Hello my name is Daniele. I am a Spurs fan and I like Juventus too! In 2021 I joined a football team which is really fun. And I have also started college with my friends! I like drama, dancing and singing. I love cooking – I am half Italian and love cooking Italian food with my papá. I love spending time with my family.’
‘Daniele is a loving, enthusiastic and humorous teenager. He never fails to make us smile with his funny mannerisms and sense of humour. Starting college in 2021, we have really seen him mature and we are super proud of everything he has achieved – both this year and throughout his life ! Although 2021 was a challenging year, Daniele has overcome many milestones – he left his secondary school, joined an inclusive football team playing in tournaments, participated at a drama workshop with ACE acting, driving a car and as mentioned before starting college. This has included him adjusting to many new environments – making new friends, learning new skills, and gaining more independence as a young adult.
As parents when Daniele was born, we were anxious to what Dan would be able to achieve as he grew up, due to the negative outlook on having a child with Down Syndrome 17 years ago. We are so happy to be able to share our story and to both show and educate people the beauty of having a child / family member with Downs Syndrome – joining WCAT to create a world where negative perceptions of DS is a thing of the past!
Daniele has brought so much love to our family we most certainly wouldn’t change a thing.’
Daniele’s mum Michele.
You can follow the families adventures on Instagram:
Meet 3 year old Hibba, our next 2022 WCAT Ambassador.
‘Hibba is a friendly little girl who loves hugs, smiles, music and dancing. In Hibba’s family there is her Mum, dad, older sister and brother.
Hibba was born premature at 29 weeks gestation. She was in Oldham NICU for 8 weeks. She was diagnosed with Down syndrome on day 7 of birth. She was also diagnosed with a heart defect AVSD and PDA and will be having a heart surgery in the future.
Hibba is at a private day care nursery and loves learning. She can sign and word her nursery rhymes. She is learning her numbers and can independently count from 1 to 3. She can say more than 20 words and has started putting 3 words together eg. Mum sit down!
Nursery has given Hibba so much confidence and the ability to have the freedom to learn. She has an EHCP and a 1-2-1 to help with her learning. She has done so well with her support worker, credit goes to the nursery and staff who have helped Hibba flourish.
At 9 months she started recognising family members names. At 12 months she sat up with support and at 14 months she got her first tooth!
By 16 months she was moving around holding onto furniture and at 19 months she started climbing the stairs. She stood up by herself at 22 months, and started bum shuffling down the stairs.
At 23 months she took her first steps independently!’
Hibba’s mum Shahnaz
You can follow Hibba on her Social Media by using the following:
Meet Nevaeh-May, our next 2022 Wouldn’t Change A Thing Ambassador, introduced by her mum, Danielle.
‘Nevaeh-May is our little piece of heaven from Cornwall. She is 5 years old and a big personality. She attends main stream school, and has modelled in the past for the Cornish brand Frugi. She loves to be around others and is a really social child. She is learning Makaton currently and her new favourite word is ‘banana’.
Nevaeh-May is gastrostomy fed through her stomach and has had 5 major operations in her short life. She is a little sparkle and lights up the room. She loves her siblings, and enjoys going outside but isn’t keen on change.
A tiny girl with a massive personality sums her up.’
You can follow Nevaeh’s adventures on her Social Media by using the following:
Our next 2022 Ambassador Grace is 17 years old and really excited to be turning 18 this year!
Her mum, Wendy, tells us more about her life.
‘Grace loves spending time with her brother Max, 14, and they particularly enjoy sharing pizza and watching Friends the TV series together. She is in S5 in a mainstream school and was really pleased to gain a National 4 qualification in Travel & Tourism as well as National 3 qualifications in Admin & IT, English, Science and Music for her glockenspiel performances. She also achieved National 2 qualifications in Maths and Performing Arts. Grace loves attending her after school dance and gymnastics clubs and enjoys any chance she gets to take part in performances.
Grace leads a very active and busy life. She loves to dance and spends a lot of time in dance classes. She has recently completed a dance mentoring programme and received a Certificate of Achievement having completed 22 hours of mentoring in creative arts culminating in her teaching her own dance class. Grace is also a keen gymnast and is a member of City of Glasgow Disability Gymnastics Club. She won two gold medals in the Special Olympics in Sheffield for artistic gymnastics. She now does rhythmic gymnastics and loves performing with her clubs, ball, ribbon and hoop.
Grace loves playing her keyboard, going to musicals and concerts, socialising with friends and family, answering quiz questions on her favourite TV show, Friends and just loving life.
Grace spends a lot of time doing Makaton signing to pop songs and takes any opportunity she can to show others. During Down’s Syndrome Awareness week she took up the 21 in 21 challenge for Down’s Syndrome Scotland and did Makaton signing to 21 pop songs over 21 days and also cycled 21 laps of her school track. Grace also loves to raise awareness of Down’s Syndrome and recently took part in helping “I am me Scotland” with the creation of the school resource for the charity to make primary school age children more aware of people with Down’s Syndrome and how amazing they are.
Grace is an absolute joy and I am immensely proud of who she is and what she has achieved and I also love what she brings out in others. I have total respect for everything she can do and I don’t ever see what she can’t do. In lots of situations I try to learn from Grace and think about what she would do as she doesn’t overthink things like I do and she just gets on with enjoying her life. It may take her a little longer to do some things but it is certainly worth the wait and Grace helps us to really appreciate things that others might take for granted. Our life has been full of so many positive experiences and we have met so many amazing people along the way. Grace loves her life and totally inspires me and I wouldn’t change a thing. We look forward to the rest of our journey, one day at a time.’
We would like to welcome 2 year old Ivy-Rose to our ambassador team for 2022!
Her mum, Amy, told us;
‘Ivy-Rose is the heart of our family, and little sister to her amazing sisters Grace aged 15 and Sofiya aged 9, and to two amazing brothers Joshua, 11, and Connor, 15. Her siblings adore her and she has added so much to their lives – they have learnt lots of things which cannot be taught in a classroom. I honestly believe they grow with more empathy, compassion, understanding and kindness and what world doesn’t need that?
Ivy-Rose is brave, courageous, determined, resilient and obviously super cute! She has an infectious smile and giggle. Everywhere she goes she makes everyone smile and talk to her.
She goes to Play School 3 days a week and absolutely loves it. She loves playing, singing, and being outdoors with her friends, She enjoys watching Mr Tumble, In The Night Garden and Bing. She loves to dance (sway) to all kinds of music and does actions to favourite nursery rhymes.
We are excited and very proud and honoured that Ivy-Rose has been asked to be an ambassador for 2022 for WCAT as it is an amazing community and we as a family are all very happy to be a part of it.
Ivy-Rose brings so much joy to all around her. She has already changed minds and hearts about Down syndrome in her short life and we will continue to shout her worth and the worth of all people with DS. Although her diagnosis was a shock to us at birth, it changed our family’s life for the better and we wouldn’t change a thing about her!’
You can follow Ivy-Rose on her Social Media by following:
8 year old Henry Charlton joins the Wouldn’t Change A Thing ambassador team for 2022, and is introduced by mum Tania.
‘Henry is 8 years old and is younger brother to Ruby 10 and older brother to Monty who is 7. When Henry was born we had no idea he had an extra chromosome and his arrival totally shook our world. Ignorance and fear made us worry about everything, our journey ahead appeared to be so dark.
It didn’t take long for Henry to become the biggest self advocate and not only educate us but many around us. He turned the lights back on with every smile, giggle and the most incredible power to brighten up the darkest day with the sheer love that oozed out of him. Love for his family, his friends and for life in general. Everything was and is an adventure for Henry, he sees the joy in so much and he has taught us to do the same.
Henry has Robertsonian translocation Ds. The Robertsonian translocation is unbalanced and the person has three copies of the long arm of chromosome 21 instead of two. This causes a type of Down syndrome called translocation Down syndrome. The effects on the person are exactly the same as when Down’s syndrome is caused by having an extra entire chromosome 21.
Henry attends the same school as his brother and sister and has been well supported in his development not only in school but from his early years settings. There has been a theme of no limits throughout Henry’s life not only from us as a family but from all his caregivers. Henry thrives with belief and we feel incredibly lucky to have had such incredible support.
If I were to use 3 words to describe Henry I would say fearless, independent and showman. Henry loves to perform, singing, acting and dancing, he has performance running through his veins. He knows the whole script of many musicals and all the dance moves too.
We are delighted that Henry is ambassador for Wouldn’t Change A Thing this year and look forward to sharing a bit more with you all.’
You can follow Henry on his Social Media using the following link:
Joining the Wouldn’t Change a Thing 2022 Ambassador team is 20 year old Kirsty Harrower.
Born in London, Kirsty is of Scottish, and Malaysian heritage. She moved with her family to Stirling when she was 4 months old then to Sheffield, where she now lives, when she was 2 years old. Kirsty has a 14-year-old sister, Melissa.
Her mum told us more.
‘Kirsty started college in September 2021, studying life skills which will lead onto an employment course. She wants to work at a hotel as a receptionist, live independently and one day get married. While isolating she made a list of her dreams, ambitions, and plans for her future. She wants to own a red car one day.
Kirsty has gone through a lot from a medical point of view but bounces back and continues to keep going. She had a duodenal atresia repair at birth, a VSD (hole in the heart) repair at 9 weeks and is currently in remission from leukaemia.
Kirsty went to mainstream educational setting until junior school and then onto a special secondary school.
Kirsty leads an active life. She is a member of a dance group, called Dancestars Sheffield and a drama group, Dramastars. She has performed at various venues in Sheffield and Derbyshire with this group, including performing at half time at the Sheffield United Grounds. She also does ballet, singing and plays the saxophone. She would love to audition for The Voice on ITV one day.
Kirsty has been on a TV commercial ‘Smart Meter-Thank you ‘Advert and been in a short film called ‘Fargate’ that has won various awards. She has also walked the catwalk in London, Sheffield, Manchester, and Liverpool.
In lockdown Kirsty and her sister raised money for ‘Don’t Screen Us Out’ and ‘Acting for Others’ by posting videos of themselves singing and signing. They also created a video together for WDSD, which can be viewed here https://youtu.be/3r8z4BG6Rv4 ‘
You can follow Kirsty on her Social Media by following:
Mikey & Missy
Meet our next WCAT Ambassador, Kaoru, introduced by his sister Noriko.
“Mikey and Missy are brother and sister from Scotland. Mikey is 11 and Missy is 10. We are a family of unschoolers, which is slightly different from home educating as everything we do is child led. I’m a single parent of 7 ,Mikey and Missy are the youngest. Mikey is non verbal and does not sign. He has markers for ASD but has not been formally diagnosed . He is still in nappies 24/7 and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. He is the happiest wee boy you could ever meet and is so kind and loving. Mikey is adopted and came into our family at 10 days old as a foster placement. We were smitten and just couldn’t let him go. Everyone who meets him absolutely adores him.
Marissa or, as we call her, Missy is also adopted. She’s been in our family almost four years and she is a character. Missy could talk for Scotland and is into unicorns and mermaids, and is just a typical 10 year old girl. Her favourite pastime is changing outfits a hundred times a day! She ropes Mikey into this and he has worn some “lovely” outfits supplied by Missy’s wardrobe. She loves the water and was taught paddleboarding last summer. She will be doing this again next summer as she loved it.
We spend a lot of time outdoors, hillwalking and beachcombing. Missy really enjoys this but after Mikey has run miles ahead he decides he’s done and stages sit down protests. He can usually be bribed with the promise of a treat but usually I have to take him back to the car while the others continue on.”
You can follow Mikey and Missy on their Social Media using the following:
Hollie joins the WCAT Ambassador Team this year for her second year!
Thanks to mum, Hayley, for this introductory post.
‘Hollie is 14 years old and feels ever so privileged to be 2022 ambassador for the incredible Wouldn’t Change A Thing!
Hollie is a very proud big sister to her two younger sisters Poppie (11) and Lillie (7). Hollie takes on the big sister role like a pro! She will always make sure her sisters are OK and happy and she will also take charge of the place! The three of them have a wonderful yet typical sibling relationship.
Our Hols attends secondary school and thoroughly enjoys it. With lots of friends around her, Hollie keeps blossoming each day. She would love to be a vet when she’s older and has so many hopes and dreams for the future.
From my 20 week pregnancy scan, Hollie didn’t have an easy start to life. She failed to grow inside my tummy. She didn’t have any fluid around her. We were being monitored every day and scanned twice a week and not once did they pick up Hollies extra awesomeness.
Hollie entered this world and filled our hearts with so much love and joy in 2007. New years eve 5pm, we had a call to tell us (over the phone) Hollie had Down syndrome. We hadn’t heard of Down syndrome before so were pretty clueless.
She would reach all her milestones, maybe a little later than she should’ve but she got there in the end with love and support from family.
At 19 months old, Hollie was then diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) and underwent 5 months of gruelling chemotherapy. This year will be 13 years in remission and each and every day she’s getting stronger and turning into the most beautiful little lady.
Hollie keeps telling me, once she’s 18, she’s going to take me to Bingo and I can’t wait for that day!
She loves to sing and dance and is always on her karaoke machine. Her favourite songs to sing and listen to is music by The Beach Boys and Max Boyce.
Hollie enjoys going down to the football stadium to watch her team Swansea City play. You can hear Hols a mile off singing the chants and anthems with a massive smile on her face!
We can’t put into words how amazing our Hollie is. She’s an absolute star. Hollie has changed our lives for the better. We focus and celebrate every little milestone. The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation, but you have a choice about how you view it!
We most certainly Wouldn’t change a thing about our Hols.’
Max and Jude
Brothers Max and Jude were 2021 WCAT Ambassadors and we are delighted to have them on the 2022 ambassador team!
Their mum Whittney gave us an update on the boys.
‘Max and Jude are both repeating Kindergarten this year. Their first year in Kindergarten was mainly virtual and we wanted them to experience their Kindergarten year in person and to gain a strong foundation before starting 1st grade.
Max is a born performer and absolutely loves to dance and make people laugh. He loves music, especially hip hop. Max has an amazing memory. He has learned all of letters, the sounds they make, and is working on blending sounds. He can also count all the way to 143! He was adopted from China when he was 2 1/2 years old and he completed our family perfectly.
Jude is a natural artist and loves to paint and draw – on paper, the magna doodle, ipad, or even the walls – all are blank canvases to him. He loves to play hide-n-seek and to pull pranks on his family. He loves to sing – especially if a microphone is available. Jude is especially proud of his cousin, Baby Clarke, and he tells everyone he sees that “Baby Clarke is so cute!” Jude is also a born encourager. He is always giving hugs, fistbumps, and telling someone “you’re the best!”
Both Max and Jude love to wrestle and play ball with their big brother, MT. They love to create videos and fun projects with their sister, Mikayla. They love going to the beach, camping, and playing games.’
Meet our next 2022 Ambassador, Nino.
‘Hi. I’m Nino Genua, I’m 23 years old. I’m from the UK and this is my 3rd year as a WCAT Ambassador….which I am very proud of.
I love sport, health and fitness, music , singing, dancing, socialising with my friends, going on dates with my girlfriend Olivia – we’ve been together 7 years on Valentine’s Day.
I love working out, playing sports, going to the gym with my PA/PT Dean and swim training as part of a Special Olympics swim squad. I am active and fitness-focused every day.
I have 5 jobs at the moment: I’m a model, a football coach, a rugby coach, a trainee artisan baker and a cafe assistant.
My life is full of adventures and challenges which I love. I’m determined to live my best life and be part of my community.
This is me and I love my life.’
You can follow Nino on Instagram using the following link:
Ivan was one of our 2021 Ambassadors and returns as an ambassador again this year.
We hear from Ivan and his mum, Simone.
‘We are overjoyed Ivan has been asked to be an ambassador for WCAT again. Here’s a few things Ivan would like to say about himself.
“My name is Ivan, I am 18 now, 19 in November. I go to Braintree college. I work towards new job with my dad, my apprenticeship starts end January, I am happy about this.
My hobbies playing x-box, go dancing project 21 and like watching WWE wrestling. I have a girlfriend called Mia, same age, she 18, she’s so beautiful. We like singing and dancing, we like go cinema and she make me laugh she’s so funny. We want to get married when we are older”