Meet Jess, the fairy with a message
After being inspired by childhood drawings, a mother and daughter have written a book highlighting how disabled people can achieve great things when given the right support.
Jo Allmond and her daughter, Jess Hiles, wanted to show that although having a disability can be challenging, everyone is the same inside.
Thirty-year-old Jess, who has learning and physical disabilities, lives independently, with support, in Redditch.
Mrs Allmond, 60, lives with her husband, Alan, in Broseley, and used her daughter's childhood drawings as the basis for their book.
But she did not want to write a book that purely focussed on living with her daughter and it was when she looked at one of Jess' early drawings an idea formed in her head.
Despite suffering with ill health herself for the last couple of years, Jo, who had always wanted to write a children's book "in a quirky way", decided to take the plunge. Eventually Jess the Goth Fairy was born.
"She is disabled like Jess," said Jo. "She has crooked wings that make her crash, she is laughed at and pointed at, just as Jess has been through her life.
"Jess loves the idea, as well as the black and red colours.
"One of the things that Jess was adamant about was putting her friends into the story so we chose creatures for her friends to become and asked their permission.
"Jess wanted everyone to be in the first story and also tell how it has been for her during her life coping with disabilities so we are hoping to introduce her friends over a series of books.
"We want people who read the book to realise that it's okay to be disabled and it's okay to be different."
Jo said she had always wanted to put pen to paper about Jess' life but had never known where to start.
"I feel very humble to be her mum and to have watched her over the years coping with many situations," she said.
"I know life will never be easy for her and things will probably get harder as she grows older, especially when I or her dad are not around to protect her, a thought that fills me with such fear and lives with me all the time.
"But rather than write about the constant battles with the authorities, the red tape which is never ending, I thought there must be another way to tell people about this young lady."
The book has been written now but Jo and Jess need support from the public to ensure their finished piece can hit the bookshelves.
A total of £6,000 is required by April 3 to see Jess the Goth Fairy reach a wider audience.
"Once published, Jess, with support, would like to visit mainstream schools, disabled organisations, and anywhere that would like to hear the story and talk to Jess about her life," said Jo.
"We have everything in place and we have a publisher, Silverwoodbooks Ltd, which has been so helpful and supportive.
"We have found a wonderful young illustrator, Emily Daly, who has brought Jess' sketch to life.
"But nowadays the way forward is self-funding so we launched a crowdfunding bid and have already received £1,000 of the £6,000 we require.
"The response has been amazing because there is a gap out there in the market for something like this.
"Jess is so excited and even heard herself on Radio Shropshire during the Eric and Clare show.
"We cannot thank people enough for the support already received but only have until April 3 to raise the money needed."
To donate to Jess the Goth Fairy visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/598808056/jess-the-goth-fairy
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