HealthUnlocked Health Blog of the Year? Your vote could help fund our next book for children about Down's syndrome

Your vote could help us win funds towards publishing our next book! (Click to vote.)

The sequel is in the pipeline
Goodness gracious me! What an honour! Our little blog Downs Side Up has been shortlisted as one of the world's top health blogs by HealthUnlocked and we're up for Blog of the Year no less!

I'm a huge believer in the power of blogs, to create change, to connect us with others and banish the feeling that we are alone in the world. I started Downs Side Up as a way of bringing resources together and to remove the fear for new parents with a baby with Down's syndrome, of buying them precious bonding time.

Our resource for new parents
with a baby who has Down's syndrome

Blogs can offer advice, tips and also sometimes unexpectedly allow us to work through our own feelings as we write. We 'blog it out', it's cathartic. I'm passionate about blogging and proud to be one tiny part of such a vital online network. 

With our words, our narrative, the slices of life we share, we are all sending out little messages in bottles for others to pick up and read at a later time. To read, connect with, and gain an understanding, not only of our lives' differences, but also of the humanity that unites us. 

It's change that happens slowly, but from within people hearts and souls. You can't force that kind of deep down understanding, you have to take an act of faith, believe in your message and stay on track.

Experts by experience: Educating medical students

Health Blog?

I'm never sure exactly what niche Downs Side Up covers really. We write about our ordinary extraordinary lives, we showcase the words of those with Down's syndrome, we gently campaign for acceptance and inclusion in advertising, Natty makes folk giggle in her live broadcasts on Facebook called Chatty Natty and sometimes we educate medical professionals and students, speak at conferences or offer tips on sleep, preparing your little one for heart surgery or everyday problems such as constipation or dental care. 

Expressing for a baby in NICU

I've been asked to write chapters for a couple of medical books and often contribute to medical journals or magazines. Then we get asked most weeks for quotes for some media source or other from Radio 4 Womans Hour, to ITV Daybreak, from Good Housekeeping to the Financial Times. Just like you and I and our children, there's a bit of everything in there really.

So are we a parenting blog, a disability blog, a health care blog? In the past we've even been labelled a campaign blog, one which makes an outstanding contribution or one which inspires. I think more the blog is the hub of much more work that radiates from it, but all in a down to earth, approachable way. 

And as fabulous as it is to receive an award, to have the hours you spend at your laptop recognised, they are not why any of us do what we do. If our words help just one other person, then our blogs are a success. And so we are all winners.

Read our chapter on working with families
in Steve Hardy's book

I'm a firm believer in not comparing our words with those of others and with so many thousands of incredible blogs on ever conceivable subject, how can you judge one against another? I'm not good at asking for votes either and, having won a couple of awards over the years, I'm always left with the feeling that someone else should have got the shiny trinket I was left holding.

Natty: Role model for inclusion

However, *embarrassed cough* on this occasion, the winner gets a prize. 

And the prize is money to be used for their work. 

Now I've been putting money aside for over a year for the design and print costs of a follow up to I Love You Natty. A second book about life with Down's syndrome whose title has been registered and is ready to go once those funds are in place. Another book for all children; bright, colourful and packed with positivity, inclusion and love. 

The prize money - a whopping £600 - would partially help fund those costs. 

HealthUnlocked Health Blogger Awards

So would you consider voting for Downs Side Up (or the health blog of your choice) here. It takes about 10 seconds.

And thank you all for your continued support in helping us change the way the world sees Down's syndrome. 

A big thank you from Dr Natty

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