Two young adults with Down’s syndrome have discovered that they share a family member after they were featured on the same page of a magazine.
Bryony and Jamie had both been featured on pages 6 and 7 of Down2Earth Magazine, produced twice a year by the Down’s Syndrome Association for its members. The pair live more than 300 miles apart and had no idea that their mums shared a cousin until, after seeing their stories next to each other in the magazine, the pieces of the jigsaw were put together.
Bryony, who lives in Morecambe and Jamie, who is from Dover, are both in their 20s. They both have Down’s syndrome and had got in touch with Down2Earth Magazine back in early 2018, and were pleased when they were featured in the September 2018 issue of the publication.
Bryony had written about her ambition to be a journalist and Jamie’s story was about his progress since he had been featured in the magazine 25 years ago as a baby.
The family connection came to light when Bryony’s mum Theresa had her cousin Linda to visit. Bryony proudly showed Linda her article in the magazine and Linda instantly recognised the face on the next page. It was Jamie, her (adopted) cousin Sue’s son!
They could hardly believe the coincidence. Linda had been adopted by Sue’s aunt and uncle in the 1950s and had grown up in the family. She later decided to search for her birth family, connecting with Theresa, her blood cousin.
Direct contact was made between the families via text message but the distance between their homes made getting together in person a challenge.
Sue and Jamie happened to be travelling back from a trip to Scotland when one text arrived though, and soon a plan was hatched – the two families would meet at The Blackpool Football Club, which was a treat that had been booked for Jamie’s birthday.
It was a meeting that will be remembered forever. “I was so excited to go to Blackpool because it’s my favourite place, and to meet Jamie who was on the same page as me,” Bryony said. “We didn’t know each other but we both like football. Without Linda we wouldn’t have met, two strangers on the same page.”
The families only met for an hour, but a connection was instant. “They just clicked,” Sue said. “They were so happy to meet each other. I feel like two families have been united, all because of a magazine. Without the piece in Down2Earth the two families would be none the wiser of the connections. Since the piece, another cousin of mine and Linda’s has been to visit after 25 years of no contact. It’s quite incredible how this has come about.”