We look back at an article we ran in the April/May issue of PosAbility, highlighting the work people across the country were doing to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome and the viral video of 50 mums and 50 kids with Down’s syndrome using Makaton to sign along to Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years.

Monkeying Around

By Colette Carr

The Down’s syndrome community mirrors that proud and empowered nature of parenthood, bringing together a group of nurturing and supportive people raising up those they are surrounded by.

One Glasgow mother who has been celebrating World Down’s Syndrome Day married her love of sewing and design with her support of the community.

Tracey Farquharson’s Monkey Menagerie sells beautiful designs celebrating the community with redesigns of the awareness ribbon, The Lucky Few, Omne Trium Perfectum and Love Doesn’t Count Chromosomes.

And to mark World Down’s Syndrome Day, through sales of her products she raised £250 for Down’s Syndrome Scotland, and Tracey told PosAbility all about her venture.

“The Etsy shop was a natural progression for me after working through Facebook for a while,” the mum of two began.

“I created a t-shirt for Aaron and myself to wear because I loved the tattoo (the lucky few design) but wasn’t keen on getting one. I love what it symbolises. My shop has been going just over a month, and I’ve been working on Monkey Menagerie as a small business for a little longer.

“My business started as a hobby through my love of sewing and once I started designing more I realised that I wanted to move into making statement clothing. I wanted to do something for WDSD this year and thought that the t-shirts would be a great way of raising awareness while raising money for Down’s Syndrome Scotland.

“Aaron is just your average five-year-old boy,” Tracey said, who by her own admission on Facebook, wishes she could go back and reassure herself after Aaron was given his diagnosis after birth.

“His extra chromosome is just a small part of who he is and he’s much more than that. He is a funny, cheeky, stubborn and independent little boy who loves life and is just a part of our family. I have a three-year-old boy, Scott, and I haven’t found raising Aaron any more challenging than raising Scott.”

Tracey praised the togetherness of the community she has been part of since Aaron’s birth, having regularly helped fundraise for DS Scotland and Glasgow Children’s Charity Hospital making a number of great friends along the way.

 “The Lucky Few design is inspired by a tattoo that has been popular throughout the community –  I wanted Aaron to be able to be a part of that and that’s where the t-shirt came from.

“The three arrows represent the triplication of the 21st chromosome and the thought that you have to be stretched to move forward,” she continued to explain.

“Omne Trium Perfectum is a Latin phrase that means, “everything that comes in threes is perfect” and it’s in reference to the third chromosome. The arrow design was created by Australian Alexis Schnitger, who said, “An arrow must be pulled back to shoot forward, the Roman numerals for 21 are included and the three dots at either end represent trisomy.”

“The rings in the centre represent connections made between families in our community, while the overlapping triangles represent strength and resilience.”

And after just one month of Etsy business, Tracey’s long-standing love and support of the community has been rewarded in abundance, but that success is just motivating her to give back more yet, with her appreciation spilling over.

“The response for the DS community has been overwhelming, I feel very blessed to be part of such a supportive and awesome group of people. I have a lot to be thankful for.

“I am going to continue to work hard and I have some new designs waiting to be released. I hope to continue to raise awareness for Down’s syndrome and other disabilities and I hope that my clothing can help to give people a positive voice.”

Check out Tracey’s online Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeyMenagerieUK for some stylish awareness-raising designs.

Wouldn’t Change a thing

One of the best things to come out of the campaign in the build up to World Down’s Syndrome Day was the beautiful, viral video titled “Wouldn’t Change a Thing”.

The video, based on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, saw 50 mums and 50 kids with Down’s syndrome, with a few siblings thrown in too for good measure, use Makaton to sign along to Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years.

The tear-jerking video quickly became a global smash seeing hundreds of thousands of views across the world share their appreciation for the love and devotion on show.

The video drew praise from James Corden and Christina Perri themselves as it served to show that the only difference their children have is a little extra chromosome.

Some of the mums and kids took their newfound fame in their stride as they took to the famous This Morning couch with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield, stealing the hearts of the nation further yet where they performed it live with the presenting duo joining in.

Watch the video here…