Two local schoolboys are set to make their TV debut next Friday when they feature in their very own episode of the new CBeebies series “My Story”.
Seven year old Ben and six-year-old Jack Rogers from just outside of Donemana filmed with the team from the BBC children’s channel in May of this year and on Friday their 15 minute programme will be broadcast for the first time.
The two boys, who are pupils at Oakgrove Primary School in Derry were filmed along with their daddy Gordon and grandfather Sammy. Their mum Sharon explained: “The boys were filmed over three days in the last weekend in May.
“They had to design a build a go-kart with their daddy and grandad and then when they were done we went to Truck Fest in Ballymena.”
Sharon said the experience was “great fun” and something the children will treasure. And for Sharon the whole thing had extra meaning as she hopes it will help people become more accepting of Down’s Syndrome - which six year old Jack was born with.
“It’s very important to us that Down’s is accepted as part of every day life and that he is in a normal programme. We’ve never treated him any different - to us he is just a normal, every day wee boy - as boisterous and funloving as any other wee boy his age.
“We don’t make any differences with him so we are delighted to be able to show that on Cbeebies.”
The Rogers family were suggested for the show by the Down’s Syndrome Association in Belfast who Sharon also volunteers with.
Sharon explained how she and her husband had no idea that Jack had Down’s before he was born six years ago. “We had no indication at all,” she said, “Even though I was scanned every two weeks from seven weeks onwards because I had complications with my previous pregnancy there was still nothing that indicated to us that there were any issues with Jack at all.”
Sharon admits both she and her husband were “devastated” when they discovered Jack had Down’s. “It was a horrible, horrible time,” she said. “We went into hospital expecting to leave with a normal healthy baby but we got Jack.
“We had to grieve for the child we thought we would have and all the things we thought he would do and we had to accept what we had been given.
“It was a very tough year. There was a lot of adjusting to do - but we got there. Now he is the light of our lives.
“He has taught us so much.”
Sharon says that Jack “lights up a room whenever he walks into it. There isn’t a person he meets that he doesn’t bring a smile to their face.”
Sharon says her lifeline has been Foyle Down’s Syndrome Trust who she has now become a Director of. “They were and are an amazing support to us - from advice to someone to talk to, to organising a host of events which we go to.”
Now Sharon says she would not change Jack “for the world”.
The Rogers are family are looking forward to enjoying their TV debut next Friday. “It was great,” big brother Ben said. “But the go-kart didn’t work very well! It had no pedals on it,” he revealed.