Words by Angela Clark & Photos by Gail Russell
Alexandria siblings Mikey and Missy Logan are challenging the stigma associated with Down syndrome as ambassadors for national charity Wouldn’t Change A Thing (WCAT).
The pair were chosen to represent the charity for the second year in a row and their mum Christina is delighted at the news.
She said: “We are really proud to be chosen as ambassadors again.
“We want to end the stigma of how the world views children with Down syndrome. So we will be out and about talking to people, telling them about all the different things our children can do.
“It’s a great charity. They’ve got an Instagram page and do YouTube videos where people can see what our children are up to. Letting people see they are having the best time and living life just like any other child.”
In 2018, 50 mums and their children created a YouTube video for World Down Syndrome Day. Filmed in their cars they lip-synced to Christina Perri’s song ‘A Thousand Years.’
The heart-warming video went viral and to date, has received over 500 million views worldwide.
And from this success Wouldn’t Change A Thing was set up to help eliminate the stigma faced by children with Down syndrome.
After seeing the video online Christina wanted to get involved and help raise awareness as two of her children were born with Down syndrome.
Last year Mikey 12 and Missy 11 were chosen to be ambassadors for the charity and they were over the moon when they were selected again for 2023.
Attitudes towards people with Down syndrome have come a long way since the 1970s when babies and children were placed in institutions and shut away from the world.
However, abortion is still an option pushed by many professionals.
Christina explained: “The pressure from doctors to abort is unbelievable, especially for first-time parents who find out they’re having a baby with Down syndrome.
“If those parents could come and speak to people who have children with Down syndrome, they would get a balanced view before making this decision.
“That is what Wouldn’t Change A Thing is trying to educate people about, they want to eliminate negative perceptions and show people there’s no reason to be scared.”
Christina wasn’t put off or scared when she adopted both Missy and Mikey.
She fell instantly in love with them and treated them the same as her other kids. Sadly, she has heard some horror stories from other parents about the treatment they have received from others.
But in the area she lives there have been only positive responses.
“There’s not a lot of negativity in Alexandria where I live. I can’t speak for other areas, but I’ve not really come across much negativity.
“Once when Mikey was a tiny baby, somebody came up and looked at him and said, ‘oh he’s got Down syndrome, I’m really, really sorry’. I was like, ‘no, there’s nothing to be sorry about’, but apart from that, people are genuinely lovely,” she added.
Like any parent, Christina wants the best for her children, to see them enjoy life and flourish, and not face barriers because they have different needs.
She highlighted the many children with Down syndrome who have become successful actors, actresses, models and live wonderful lives.
And added: “The hope is our children are in the mainstream. We want them to be seen, not hidden away.
“The opportunities for our children have come a long way. There are quite a few really good actors with Down syndrome.
“The boy on Call the Midwife and Tommy Jessup, he was in Coming Down the Mountain, a TV drama. I know someone with Down syndrome who drives. The sky’s the limit!”
In terms of their ability to live independently Mikey has different more complex needs and will need care for the rest of his life. Missy however will eventually go on and live her own life. Christina said: “I’ve no doubt with support Missy will be able to live on her own. Mikey
won’t but she will. Hopefully she meets somebody nice and gets married, that’s what I’m hoping for in the future.
“Obviously she won’t have children as much as she keeps telling me she’s having a baby. Women with Down syndrome can have children, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’m hoping she moves out and gets a job, lives her life.
“And Mikey will be with me forever.”
To learn more about children with the extra chromosome known as Down syndrome, visit www.wouldntchangeathing.org and you can follow Mikey and Missy’s adventures on Instagram and show your support at @michaelnoahl.