Return to Mencap Northern Ireland
luca-1

Luca is three years old and has Down’s Syndrome, he is in his second year at the Mencap Children’s Centre Nursery. Luca lives in Belfast with his parents and two sisters.

We talk to his Mother Nadine, who said, “When Luca started at the Mencap Centre Nursery he wasn’t quite up on his feet and got very upset when I left him. But it didn’t take long for him to settle in and by his second year he was walking into the nursery and happily waving goodbye.”

“Luca’s Down’s Syndrome means that he has a learning disability and some physical difficulties. His low muscle tone makes lots of things difficult for Luca, he didn’t walk until he was 33 months, he finds it difficult to talk, chew, swallow or cough. But Luca is pretty amazing and he finds ways to adapt to his difficulties and if you should ever need a lesson in determination then come and see Luca. And if he should decide you are worthy of a cuddle, then believe me he will melt your heart.”

Luca

“Luca loves music time at the nursery and has learned a wide range of Makaton signs during singing sessions and can now ask for things using various signs. Luca is a lovely, happy boy who enjoys all the activities at the Mencap Centre, it really is a wonderful place and will make all the difference to Luca for the rest of his life.”

Nadine said that when Luca was born he was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome within a couple of days.

“It was the most frightening time of my life. People said to me that I was probably grieving for the baby that I thought I was going to have. That is not how I felt, I just felt worried, I mean really worried. No longer was it a worry about whether I would like his first girlfriend, whether he would play rugby or football, it was an avalanche or worries, would he walk, would he talk, what would it mean for my other child, for my relationship, would he survive, would we survive?”

“Then a family friend who has an adult child with Down’s Syndrome advised me to contact Mencap and our link with the charity began. Despite the business of life, great family and friends, and all the endless appointments for Luca, I found having a child with a disability could be a very lonely place. Support is needed. Real support. Not just words but understanding.”

“Luckily for us and for Luca we got that support, he got a place in the Mencap Nursery when he had just turned two. Here we didn’t need to fight for what our son needed, what he deserved. He has been nurtured, he has been educated and he has had fun. He now has the best possible start in life thanks to Mencap.”

#StepUp4Mencap and Sign up for 2017 Belfast City Marathon
Marathon Run

The Full 26.2 mile marathon challenge.

Sign Up Now
Wheel Chair Marathon

The wheelchair race commences one minute before the main marathon event. The Marathon Organisers, working with DSNI and Disability Action have developed the route suitable for wheel chair users.

Sign Up Now
Team Relay Challeng

This challenge is for teams of 2-5 people, running the same course as the Main Marathon Race.

Sign Up Now
8 Mile Walk

For those who think the marathon is a bit of a stretch, but who want to put their fitness to the test, try out the marathon walk – you’ll never walk alone!

Sign Up Now
Fun Run for Adults

There’s always been a great sense of fun and community at the Belfast City Marathon and the Fun Run is an awesome way to catch the vibe – silly costumes are not compulsory, but they really do help!

Sign Up Now
Fun Run for Children

There’s always been a great sense of fun and community at the Belfast City Marathon and the Fun Run is an awesome way to catch the vibe – silly costumes are not compulsory, but they really do help!

Sign Up Now