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Camberley teenager speaks out about Down Syndrome discrimination

kathleen and denise

6:01am 20th March 2017
(Updated 1:45pm 20th March 2017)

A brave Camberely 17-year old with Down Syndrome - is speaking out against discrimination...

Kathleen Humberstone is speaking out against Down Syndrome discrimination.

She's been invited to Geneva to give a speech to the United Nations to mark Down Syndrome Awareness Week. 

She was invited to do this by Stop Discriminating Down.

Kathleen's life from birth to age 15:


The theme of this year’s awareness week is #ListenToMe and tomorrow (March 21st) marks the 12th World Down Syndrome Day.

Her mother, Denise Humberstone, took to Facebook at the start of this month and wrote: “You see, right now, Kathleen is still blissfully unaware that her condition is so awful and monstrous that in many countries (UK and France to name but a few) the law allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy up to the day she should deliver.

“That her condition is so awful and monstrous that the world is not only keen to eradicate it but rejoicing in it”.

You can read the full post here.

Kathleen Humberstone told us about her daily struggles: “The children, they hate me I don't know why, that's why I get trouble with that.

"I pass my exams, I go to college, go to University.

"I keep doing it and I'm happy with my life".

Denise hopes that the speech will send a strong message to the public: “People in general have very outdated perceptions about Down Syndrome and they have very low expectations.

"So when they see Kathleen who can get up there and talk about her life, and be so confident, they'll realise there's so much more they can do".

 Kathleen modelling in Paris:

Hear Kathleen's speech: 

Read below Kathleen's speech in full:


Bonjour, Hello!

I can’t believe I’m here!

I’m at the UN, in Geneva!

Do you know why?

Because I have 47 chromosomes.

That’s just crazy!!

Thank you Down syndrome!

I’m here to talk to you about my life and why it is worth living.

I’m 17 years old.

I turn 18 on May 1st.

My dad, Andrew, is British and my mum, Denise, is French.

I can speak French but…. only with my French family because they can’t speak English.

But YOU can!

I was born in Saudi Arabia.

My parents didn’t know I have Down syndrome, they don’t care about Down syndrome.

They love ME!

I have a younger brother, Andy, he is 13, and a younger sister, Jessica, she is 15.

They don’t care I have Down syndrome.

They love me.

I love my family and they love me too!

I’m a chatter box.

A beautiful chatter box!

Andy funny and cheeky and very bossy.

I went to school in Jeddah, in Dubai, in India, in China, and now in England.

I go to a special school for one more year, and then I want to go to a special college.

I love to sing, I love to dance, and I started playing tennis.

I did a photo shoot in Paris and London.

It was amazing!

After college, I am planning to live independently.

Just like everybody else.

I want to have a job and get married with my boyfriend, Jack Saunders.

I love him so much!

My dream is to be a fashion model, and maybe, one day, I can do a catwalk in Paris, London, New York, Geneva, anywhere!

I love fashion!!

I love everybody.

I can’t help it!

I hope everybody loves me.

I have Down syndrome.


Is that so wrong?

So, why all this testing?


My name is Kathleen Humberstone and I love my life!!

Thank you very much.

Merci beaucoup.


Following Kathleen's speech mum Denise speaks:


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