World Down Syndrome Day

Did you know March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day? BOOM! Now you know.


In honour of the day, I thought I would post some myths and facts from the National Down Syndrome Society site and be sure to cruise down for some of my favourite bits from around the internet. I’m hoping these may enlighten people a bit about people with Down syndrome.

Thanks for your support, open mind and for sharing awareness.

Myths & Truths from the National Down Syndrome Society

MYTH: Down syndrome is a rare disorder.

TRUTH: Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, or around 6,000 births per year. Today, there approximately 400,000 people with Down syndrome living in the United States.

MYTH: Down syndrome is hereditary and runs in families.

TRUTH: Translocation, a type of Down syndrome that accounts for 3 to 4% of all cases, is the only type of Down syndrome known to have a hereditary component. Of those, one third (or 1% of all cases of Down syndrome) are hereditary.

MYTH: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.

TRUTH: Most children with Down syndrome are born to women younger than 35 years old simply because younger women have more children. However, the likelihood of having a child with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother, especially after age 35.

MYTH: Parents will not find community support in bringing up their child with Down syndrome.

TRUTH: In almost every community of the United States there are parent support groups and other community organizations directly involved in providing services to families of individuals with Down syndrome. You can find a list of groups at

MYTH: All people with Down syndrome have a severe cognitive disability.

TRUTH: Most people with Down syndrome have a mild to moderate cognitive disability, or intellectual disability. This is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses. Be considerate of the extra time it might take a person who has a disability to get things done or said.

MYTH: People with Down syndrome are always sick.

TRUTH: Though people with Down syndrome are at an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, and thyroid conditions, advances in health care and treatment of these conditions have allowed for most individuals with Down syndrome to lead healthy lives.

MYTH: Scientists know everything there is to know about Down syndrome.

TRUTH: Though we know that an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21 causes the characteristics of Down syndrome, researchers are making great strides in identifying how individual genes on chromosome 21 affect a person with Down syndrome. Scientists now feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.

MYTH:  Segregated special education programs are the only option for students with Down syndrome.

TRUTH: Students with Down syndrome are included in typical academic classrooms in schools across the country. The current trend in education is for full inclusion in social and educational settings. Sometimes students with Down syndrome are included in specific courses, while in other situations students are fully included in the typical classroom for all subjects. Increasingly, individuals with Down syndrome graduate from high school with diplomas, and participate in postsecondary academic and college programs.

MYTH: People with Down syndrome cannot be active members of their community.

TRUTH: People with Down syndrome are active participants in educational, social and recreational activities. They are included in the typical education system and take part in sports, music, art programs and any other activities in the community. People with Down syndrome are valued members of their families and communities, and make meaningful contributions to society.
MYTH: People with Down syndrome are always happy.

TRUTH: People with Down syndrome have feelings just like anyone else. They experience the full range of emotions. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior.

MYTH: Adults with Down syndrome are the same as children with Down syndrome.

TRUTH: Adults with Down syndrome are not children, and should not be considered children.  They enjoy activities and companionship with other adults, and have similar needs and feelings as their typical peers.

MYTH: Adults with Down syndrome are unable to form close interpersonal relationships leading to marriage.

TRUTH: People with Down syndrome socialize and have meaningful friendships. Some choose to date, maintain ongoing relationships and marry.

MYTH: Adults with Down syndrome are unemployable.

TRUTH: Businesses employ adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions – in banks, corporations, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, offices and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions, childcare, the sports field and the computer industry, to name a few. Like anybody else, people with Down syndrome want to have a job where their work will be valued.
MYTH: It is ok to use the “r-word” if you don’t really mean it.

TRUTH: It is never acceptable to use the word “retarded” in any derogatory context. Using this word is hurtful and suggests that people with disabilities are not competent.



drseuss becauseloved If i choose again



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Don’t Believe The Hype

If there’s one piece of advice I could get people to listen to when it comes to health and fitness, it would be this. Don’t believe the hype. It’ll save you time, money, injury and disappointment.

There is no quick fix, magic formula or miracle pill. After all my years in the industry I can tell you it doesn’t exist. Sorry. Nothing works for everyone. I could have a dozen competitors in one competition and they’d all be on different programs, yet with the same goal, to be symmetrical, conditioned and lean on stage.

You can’t surf the net without being bombarded by ads for food that fight fat, the ultimate diet or quick fix workout program. Don’t buy into it, literally. Save your money. Do some research and know that there isn’t a secret you need to pay for. You just need to put in the time and effort.

Beware the “new, revolutionary” diet or exercise program.

I’m a big fan of Pinterest, but I cringe every time I see a quick fix workout pasted on a picture of a super fit model. First, behind those quick fix workouts are links to sites either selling something or getting paid to advertise something. Second, those models in the Pinterest photos did NOT get their physiques by following the 10 minute workout that’s posted along with their photos. I’m not saying all the workouts aren’t valuable, any time you’re getting up and moving, it’s a good thing, but it’s also false advertising. What’s the harm in that? This is what happens. Someone with the best intention does the 10 minute workout diligently for a month, maybe more. They being to get discouraged because they’re not looking like the model in the picture they’ve been staring at every time they work out and inevitably they end up quitting.

A lot of the Pinterest programs have you overtraining, as though pushing you to more than your max is going to make you feel like you’re “really” doing something and you’re going to get in shape fast. What actually happens, however, is your body gets overtrained, which means you lose your appetite or desire to eat healthy, you lose your desire to work out, you get injured, you experience sleep loss or experience extreme fatigue.
Go ahead, browse those workouts, but be aware of what’s behind them. Those pictures link to websites that are trying to take your money. DO USE COMMON SENSE.

The health and fitness industry is big business with the goal of making money.

Writers need to be wary of agents who approach them and say if the author pays them x amount of dollars, the agent will get them published and make them famous. The same thing applies to anyone trying to take your money. I think because it’s the health and fitness industry, people believe what they see. How could anyone possibly steer someone wrong about their health? Sorry, but there are cutthroats in the fitness industry too.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

But it’s not, and they’re not. If it were easy, broccoli would taste like ice cream. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be diet pill scams and no one would need help from a trainer or nutritionist. It is hard, acknowledge that and know that you can do it anyway.

There is no magic pill, there is no magic food, there is no magic workout. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Consumers beware, as they say. Remember the health and fitness industry is a business, like any other and their goal is to make money. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, people who are passionate about health and fitness and who want to help people. Helping people live healthy lifestyles are what they do for a living (says the personal trainer) but those people will tell it to you like it is. They won’t try and sell you a pill or a quick fix. They’ll tell you the same thing I am. It takes time. It takes dedication and even sacrifices to get true lasting results.

Save your money, go out and do a physical activity you enjoy and eat a sensible diet. Or, do some research and find someone who will give it to you straight up and won’t try to sell you a quick fix. Instead, they’ll give you an opportunity to make permanent changes toward a healthier lifestyle.

Adapted excerpt From: Sandra Wickham. “Health and Fitness for Creative People.”


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Filed under Diet, fitness, Health, Health Ally, Nutrition, Pro Tips

Health and Fitness for Creative People, the Ebook

I’m thrilled to present my new ebook to the world!

Health and Fitness for Creative People has been something I’ve wanted to put together for several years because I do believe that stronger in body is stronger in mind. Feeling better, being healthier is going to improve a person’s production, energy levels and their creative endeavours will benefit.

It took a lot longer to write than I had initially thought because there was just so much information I wanted to include. I’ve given presentations by the same name at conferences and never seem to have enough time to tell the participants everything I wanted to. With the ebook I got to include everything I wanted and it is packed full of what I believe to be valuable information for creative types looking to improve their level of health and fitness, their craft and their overall well being.

If you stumbled across this blog post and don’t know who I am, I competed in Fitness for 10 years, including 4 years in the IFBB Pros and have trained over 150 athletes to the stage, plus hundreds more individuals seeking better health. I have a black belt from Master Gee’s Black Belt Academy and am working my way toward my second degree black belt. I am a published author, blogger, speaker and avid crafter, always seeking to produce higher quality and quantity of my work. I have helped authors and artists reach their fitness goals and decided I wanted to help as many as I could.

It’s available on my site, you can view more information there. I also managed to get it up on and! Big shout out to Jill Flannagan for help in that new adventure. I might get some of my other manuals up there in the future.

Thanks to Diana Rowland for the great cover blurb, as well as to Howard Taylor and Chadwick Ginther for their kind words. Of course, I have to post their blurbs here to show them off. I’m also going to add to the end of this post a list of what you’ll find in the ebook. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the ebook before you rush out and purchase it (I know you all want to!) feel free to email me at!


“Sandra Wickham’s counsel on health and fitness has been invaluable to me for the last five years. She’s an expert here, and she’s a class act besides. ”

—Howard Tayler, Writer and Illustrator



“I knew a lot of the information in HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE–most of us do–but I kept it compartmentalized in such a way so as not to do anything with that information. HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE kicked down those walls and delivers all you need to know to feel better and create more art in one well-researched volume. (And I’m not just saying this because Sandra has me in an armbar.) ”
—Chadwick Ginther, Author of Thunder Road



What you will find in this Ebook

  • This is a ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-ONE PAGE manual, complete with everything you need to improve your health
  • Straight talk on why this is important for every creative person.
  • Help with finding your motivation to start and to continue improving your level of health and fitness.
  • Lots of geeky apps, suggestions and resources to satisfy your creative geek.
  • A section on proper posture for sitting or standing desks, including simple to do exercises to improve your overall posture!
  • Thorough information on cardiovascular and strength training so you know what to do and how to do it.
  • Helpful nutritional information covering everything from weight loss, to eating out and healthy snacking.
  • Also included are tips on getting enough sleep, and a section for those over 65.
  • Finally, a Now It’s Your Turn section including:A Quick Stretching Routine
    A Five Minute Creative Break (away from your desk)
    A Desk Break (you don’t even have to get up, but you’ll feel better!)
    Tips for Fitness and Health on a Budget
    A Sample Treadmill Workout (to shake things up a bit!)
    Tips on How to Avoid Overtraining
    Many Different Motivational Tools
    Inspiring Quotes of All Sorts to See You Through

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Filed under Creativity, fitness, Health, Health Ally, Inspiration, Nutrition, Nutrition Tips, Sandra's Writing, Training Tips

Two Things to Brag About

Sound the alarm, I have two publications to brag about at once, a personal essay and a short story. Lightspeed’s Women Destroy SF special issue went out to readers, including my personal essay, We Are the Army of Women Destroying SF. This issue is edited entirely by women, written by women and includes the fabulous cover art of Hugo winning female artist, Galen Dara. It’s available as an ebook or trade paperback. All together there’s more than 180,000 words of material, including: 11 original short stories, 15 original flash fiction stories, 4 short story reprints and a novella reprint, 7 nonfiction articles, and 28 personal essays by women about their experiences reading and writing science fiction. I highly recommend checking it out!

Women Destroy Science Fiction Cover (by Galen Dara!)

Women Destroy Science Fiction Cover (by Galen Dara!)

Also, in the fiction realm, my story, The Matron, is currently out in issue 18 of Luna Station Quarterly. If you like, YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO READ MY STORY! (not subtle at all) Be sure to take a look at all the other great stories on content on the site!

Luna Station Quarterly!

Luna Station Quarterly!


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Filed under Sandra's Writing, Story sale, Writing

Fundraising for Kitties at Fan Expo

Are you planning on going to Fan Expo Vancouver? If so, a bunch of crafty friends and I will have a table in Artist Alley with amazing wares to sell. We’ll be at booth A108. All proceeds from my sales will be going to Katie’s Place Animal Shelter.

Benson-Featured Pet at Katie's Place Animal Shelter!

Benson-Featured Pet at Katie’s Place Animal Shelter!

Come buy cool stuff for a good cause! I’ve made hats, lots of hats, for adults, small humans and even smaller humans.



Small human hats!

Small human hats!

Even smaller human hats!

Even smaller human hats!

HUGE THANK YOU to my awesome friend Bo Buckley for making these equally awesome Game of Thrones Dragon Egg Wristlets/Dice Bags. They’re so fabulous.


GoT Dragon Egg Bags by Bo Buckley!

GoT Dragon Egg Bags by Bo Buckley!


Since it’s going to a cat charity, I’ve also got cat toys to sell! Big thanks to my mom for working hard to make a bunch of adorable, catnip filled toys for your furry masters, I mean, pets! These are highly cat nipped, I’ve had to lock them away from my cats who chewed through the bag to get at them!

Catnip cat toys!

Catnip cat toys!


Hope to see you there!


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Filed under Charity, Conventions, Crafts, Creativity, Needle Crafts

Still Looking for the Quick Fix?

I don’t think I’m posting a spoiler if I say that when it comes to health and fitness, there is no such thing as a quick fix. You’d think by now, this would be common knowledge, with plenty of fitness experts out there trying to get the message across.

Unfortunately, millions of dollars are being spent right now by people who are looking for the fastest results with the least amount of work. Diets, workout equipment, all the craziest things you can think of, if someone is selling it along with a promise of instant success, people will buy it. Sadly, they will be disappointed. The secret to success is small steps and small, permanent changes.

What the focus really needs to be on is a change of habits to healthy ones. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you stick with it, you will reap the benefits. It’s so important to remember it’s all relative to where you start, what your goals are and what success means to you. Getting yourself to a level of health with which you feel comfortable, proud and satisfied is what it’s all about.

Set realistic goals. Don’t be in such a hurry to see results that if you don’t see any, you give up. Be patient with yourself. Do it because you deserve it and because you’re worth the time and effort.

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Filed under Diet, fitness, Goals, Health, Health Ally, Pro Tips

Story Sale!

Happy to announce I’ve sold my short story, The Matron, to Luna Station Quarterly. I really like this story and hope that others do too. Luna Station Quarterly is “a speculative fiction magazine featuring stories by up and coming women authors.” I’ll blog (and brag) about it again when it’s available. Hooray!

In the meantime, you can check out the other stories, blog posts and other great stuff on their site here.

Luna Station Quarterly



Filed under Sandra's Writing, Story sale, Writing

Sometimes We Get Sick

It happens. You’re cruising along really great with your workouts and healthy eating and then WHAM! You get struck with sickness. For whatever reason, you’ve caught something nasty and now you feel awful. So, what do you do? Tough it out and push through your workouts because you don’t want to lose any ground you’ve gained? What about those people who swear that “sweating it out” is the best cure for being sick?

Maybe for some people, at certain points of some sickness, doing some exercise might help them get rid of whatever it is they’ve got, but most of the time, the best thing really is to rest. Whatever illness your body is fighting against, working out will likely wear you down further. You’re making your body’s energy go to the workout and repair from that workout, rather than getting you healthy again. The last thing you want to do is drag out your sickness or make it worse. Rest up! Don’t feel guilty for missing workouts, that’s never worth it. The workouts will still be there when you recover, and your body will thank you.

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Goal: 100 Preemie Caps

My first creative charity project of the year is to make preemie caps for the hospital. My last post about the 100 Happy Days Challenge has inspired me to not just make the caps but to set a goal for how many I’d like to donate. The number 100 seemed crazy enough to go for. It won’t be just me making the hats, thank goodness! I’ve recruited my mom, who’s already done several lovely little knitted caps. I’m also hosting a Preemie Hat Geek Craft event this Sunday at Nerd Headquarters. With seventeen people RSVP’d to attend, I’m expecting lots of little caps to be made. I’ll continue to make and collect the caps until we reach one hundred, then will take them to various hospitals.

If you’re in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area and want to join us (or any of the fabulous Nerd HQ events) check us out here:

If you’re crafty and would like to do something similar in your area (don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be 100!) I’ve provided a list of links below I’ve found helpful. Have fun being creative for a good cause!

Bev’s Country Cottage: A full resource of knit and crochet patterns as well as a list of where you can send them:

Tips for making items for preemie donation:

Great pattern for beginning crocheters!

Red Heart Crochet and Knit preemie hat patterns:

Carrisa Knits Blog:

Creative Preemie Hat (one of my favs!)

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Filed under Charity, Creativity, Needle Crafts

100 Happy Days

I’ve just started participating in the 100 Happy Days Challenge. It’s a simple concept, you take a photo every day of something that makes you happy, for one hundred days in a row. The one hundred part is a bit daunting, but I figure if I can do 100 pushups, 100 sit ups and 100 deep squats for my black belt fitness test, I can do this.

Day One: Making preemie caps for the hospital

Day One: Making preemie caps for the hospital

I’m in the early stages of 100 Happy Days and right now it seems easy. I find myself excited to pick something to post and even thinking ahead to what I can post the next day, and the next day. That’s the point, really, to get yourself focused on the good things in your life. We’ll see how I feel about it when it’s day seventy, but I hope to see this out to the one hundred day finish line. Wish me luck. And also happiness.

My Mom

My Mom

Uncle Fatih's pizza on cheat food night.

Uncle Fatih’s pizza on cheat food night.

Today’s is easy. I’m currently at our Ink Club meeting for January, something I started up to give writers, artists and creative people of all types, the peer pressure nudge to sit down and actually be productive! This is our sixth meeting, I absolutely love it and I think everyone else does too. The atmosphere is fantastic, we get to socialize with like minded people during our breaks and work hard on our creative endeavours. No question, it makes me ridiculously happy.

Ink Club!

Ink Club!

Ink Club!

Ink Club!

Have I sparked your interest in it? Check it out over at All you have to do is sign up and start. You can post your photos to twitter, facebook or instagram, or if you don’t want to publicize them, you can email them in to 100 Happy Days. Let me know if you decide to join in! We shall all be happy together. Big thanks to Andrea Westaway for bringing this to my attention. I know she’ll finish her 100 days and it will be spectacular.

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Filed under Creativity, Health, Inspiration, Random Wickhamness