A Shropshire mum who published her first book earlier this year, inspired by her son who was born with Down Syndrome, has launched her book signing and guest speaking offering to mark Down Syndrome Awareness month.
Katie-Lou Mackenzie, from Lawley, Telford, published her book “The World in Full Colour” in August and it quickly became an Amazon top-seller.
The fiction book is written through the eyes of a sibling of a child with Down Syndrome as she felt siblings could often be overlooked but yet they are the “ones who ground you and show you how amazing all children are”.
The book takes Katie-Lou’s potential journey into the future as the story follows the children to an older age than her own are.
The book has been so successful, Katie-Lou now has it stocked in Burway Books in Church Stretton, as well as on Amazon.
Katie-Lou and Alfie are looking for more independent bookshops to stock their books and are available for guest speaking slots at groups and book shops across the county.
Katie-Lou said: “Down Syndrome Awareness Month is very special to me as the amazing people born with Down Syndrome are thrown into the spotlight for all of the wonderful things they achieve.
“However one month is not enough and we need to ensure people know of their amazing talents throughout the year.
“I am hoping by telling our story, we can help other families who are experiencing a similar journey to us but also open the eyes of people who have not been touched by anyone with Down Syndrome – teachers, employers, families, children, – everyone who will listen, I will tell about Alfie and all of the other super talented people with Down Syndrome.”
She added: “Down Syndrome Awareness month is all about educating people about the facts of Down Syndrome and not the myths and old wives’ tales, that I hear every now and again.
“This was the reason I found it important to include 10 facts about Down Syndrome at the back of my book because true inclusion will only come with education.”
Katie-Lou and her husband James did not know their unborn baby had Down Syndrome and Katie-Lou was told within hours of Alfie being born when she was alone at the hospital and Alfie was undergoing emergency treatment.
“I cried permanently and I did for six months after too. I loved him from the day I saw him – he looked no different to Jack as a new born baby but every time someone got married or had a baby I couldn’t help but think ‘Alfie isn’t ever going to do that’.
“I love my job and I thought I was going to have to give that up to be his full-time carer, move house for specialist care and equipment and I feared I had ruined Jack’s life because he had become a carer overnight. We as parents had to learn how to care for Alfie overnight – he fed differently, he needed holding differently and we didn’t know what to do and when,” she said.
“Fast forward three years and Alfie has taught us all so much – how to be strong, how to love like you have never loved before, how to hug – he gives the best hugs even when he is the one feeling under the weather – and his smile lights up the room.
“He is going to change the world for the better and we are just here helping him do that one step at a time.
“I follow the lives of other children and adults with Down Syndrome and they are all amazing and inspire us all.”
Katie-Lou also runs a Facebook page called “Nothing Down Here But Love” which shows Alfie’s journey and the blonde haired, blue eyed toddler has just won a modelling contract too.
Katie-Lou is already helping to spread the message to employers through the Down’s Syndrome Association Work Fit employment programme and the family have also had pin badges designed and made with “What’s Your Super Power? Trisomy 21” on to raise awareness of Trisomy 21 and raise funds for Down Syndrome charities.
The story is full of achievements, love, inclusion and different perspectives of the world, where a cheeky, stubborn little boy called George and his brother James achieve their big dreams with the help of a little bit of magic from their eccentric Great-grandad.
To arrange a book signing, a group talk or if you would like to stock the book or order a copy visit Amazon, email Katie-Lou at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message through their Facebook page @nothingdownherebutlove