Fundraise on the First: Gidea Park mum shares story to launch new Recorder campaign
PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:10 20 January 2015
When Laura Davies looks upon her seven-year-old daughter Katie, she sees a vivacious young girl with a zest for life.
It is hard to believe that if she had listened to doctors’ advice, her second child would not be here today.
At 33 weeks, Laura discovered her unborn baby had Down’s syndrome and was urged to terminate her pregnancy. But she refused and has since watched her daughter thrive.
Now Laura has shared her story to launch the Recorder’s Fundraise on the First campaign with charity First Step, which supports the families of children with special needs and disabilities.
Laura, 44, of Carlton Road, Gidea Park, said: “It was a challenging time. I was quite happy with it, but the hospital booked me in for a termination.
“I was adamant I didn’t even want the amnio [amniocentesis, to test cells for chromosomal disorders], so why on earth would I want to terminate my baby just because she has Down’s?
“I found it amazing they could write off her life before she was even born.”
Katie, delivered by Caesarean in 2007, had to undergo an operation as she had duodenal atresia – a gap in her bowel.
But the surgery was a success and, soon after, First Step was recommended to Laura by a friend.
She said: “I was a little nervous, but within seconds I knew there weren’t going to be any problems.”
First Step’s building in Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch, was made possible by more than £1million donated by Recorder readers in 2004.
And it was there that Katie achieved a number of milestones.
Laura, married to Paul, 47, and mum to Jenna, 10, said: “She took her first step there, which was really special.
“Makaton [signing] made her communication go up and her confidence did as well; they helped to develop this tiny baby into a blossoming little girl.”
Laura now volunteers for First Step to “give something back”.
She said: “For me, First Step is a place of safety. You can go in and say you are having a really bad time and the staff are there for you.
“There is nowhere else like it.”