When Lucy was nine weeks old, Laura noticed her daughter wasn’t feeding and she discovered she had a heart murmur. She took her daughter to a cardiologist and a week later Lucy was diagnosed with Williams syndrome, a rare developmental disorder.

‘Once we got the diagnosis for Lucy, I was worried and anxious and just didn’t know what the future was going to bring’

When Lucy was six months old, a therapist told Laura about Mencap’s Children’s Centre, a specialist learning environment for 2-to 3-year-olds with a learning disability, autism or developmental delay.

Lucy started at the Mencap Children's Centre when she was two years old and since then, Laura has seen amazing improvements.

When Lucy started at Mencap, her skills were limited.

She couldn’t walk and after a year at Mencap’s Children’s Centre Lucy was able to walk freely on her own.

She made great friends at the nursery and forged a strong bond with her key worker, Lynsey, whose help has been invaluable.

Laura describes the year Lucy spent at Mencap Children's Centre as vital.

‘It was crucial for my husband and me as well, the Mencap team advised us on any problems we shared and they introduced us to other parents of children with a learning disability.’

When Lucy was attending the Mencap Children's Centre, Laura got together a relay team to run the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in aid of Mencap NI rasing a total of £5000. 

Lucy's uncle also ran the Belfast Marathon last year raising £500 and Laura's workplace took part in the Mencap Bunny Hop raising over £400. 

Laura stated 'I continue to support Mencap because of the support and care lucy received when she was there and because I feel we will lean on Mencap for support again throughout Lucy’s future.

She made the most fantastic progress while in the Mencap setting which has set her on a great path which is continuing well!

The team at Mencap is excellent and their work with Lucy transformed her life and ours.

Lucy is now a pupil at Holy Rosary Nursery School in Belfast.

The school have recently raised £415 for Mencap NI through their Halloween and Christmas fundraisers.

The school chose to fundraise for Mencap NI due to the close connection it had with Lucy.