Andrew Dubock
Media & Communications
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It was almost four years ago now that our second child entered the world. It happened at home, very quickly and with the bonus of two midwifes being on hand to help out! Hannah having Down’s syndrome was naturally a shock. The first few weeks were especially tough. Suddenly family life wasn’t clear-cut any more; things became complicated. The support of family and friends carried us through.

We got to hear about DSO through the parent contact Michelle, and my wife Sally gradually started going along to the shared lunch with our older daughter Jessica. Our involvement has naturally increased over the last few years. As the father, who works during the week, it took me longer to get to know people, and I think it was the first DSO Christmas party we attended that really opened my eyes: I saw we weren’t alone. I was encouraged.

I pledged to do more with DSO about 18 months ago when I headed along to my first committee meeting. I had seen in the newsletter the need for someone with writing/media experience to take on the task of producing press releases and getting DSO out there in the local media. It fitted with my skills and experience as editor in the charity sector, so I decided to help out. It’s been really good to be involved in this aspect of the work, and great when our stories are used. 

DSO helps us as a family in many ways. As well as having the opportunity to share with other people in the same position, we’re extremely grateful for the Early Development Groups, from which Hannah has gained a great deal. They’ve boosted her learning, her skills and her confidence, especially in trying new foods! Sally and I also learnt a lot from the conference held a few years ago, and are looking forward to the education training this autumn. 

Fundraising is vital to continuing what we do. The main DSO event I’ve been involved in is the annual football tournament – not only has it been brilliant fun (I love football!) but it’s been really well supported, both by players and ‘fans’! I’ve managed to persuade several friends along each year as well. The Big Step Forward was a fantastic day out too. Another event like that in 2012 will not only improve our cash flow, but also help increase the sense of ‘family’ within DSO.