In the early hours of the 11th August 2001 both my family and my world were turned upside down. The simple question I’d never really thought about before “how many sisters do you have?” suddenly became one I would always find difficult to answer. My big sister Abby had unexpectedly died at home following complications from a heart operation two weeks earlier, I cannot find the words to describe how truly devastating that was. I will never ever forget that night.
On the 24th December 2009 the family of Mandy Gibson, and on the 28th September 2013 the family of Natalia Bruce suddenly went through the turmoil that we experienced. Our amazing sisters, daughters, aunties, are no longer here with us.
Abby, Natalia and Mandy were friends from childhood and all happened to have Down’s Syndrome. They were, at times, a little mischievous, incredibly loving and thoughtful, occasionally stubborn, gave hugs like no other and definitely knew how to have fun! Together they were a formidable threesome and with two of their other friends certainly gave the Spice Girls a run for their money! They’d make an impressionable entrance and you’d be hard pushed to tear them away from the party.
I think I can speak on behalf of all families when I say we miss them all dearly and of course wish they were still here, but our lives are a result of their existence, they will always be with us and have made us who we are and who we will go on to be. When I say they were awesome and amazing I 100% mean it, those of you who knew them will attest to that.
So I am doing this challenge to honour the memory of these lovely ladies, they have certainly shown us life is short and you have to live it to the fullest.
I have chosen the cause of Orwell Mencap Genesis because I would like to directly help Abby, Natalia and Mandy’s peers so that we can still support the community they were part of and directly help people with learning and physical disabilities.
All photos and content © Danielle Ramsey and Arctic 4 Abby, 2015, except where stated.