The family behind The Ally Bally Bee Project
The Ally Bally Bee Project is on a mission to create the world’s first personalised children’s book about dementia. We’re now entering the final stretch of the project but it has not been an easy journey. Over the coming weeks, I will be introducing you to the story and the people behind this amazing project: What were the obstacles? Where did the idea come from? Who is behind it? What stage is it at and what is planned for the future?
Meet the Äikäs-Adams family
Today I wanted to introduce the family behind the project…my family 🙂
My name is Matthew and I’m a dad, a husband and a digital marketing professional, with more than five years’ of experience working in the UK charity sector. Together with my wife, Nina (also a digital marketer), and our daughter, Lana (the Boss of, well, everything), we’ve been trying to create something truly unique for children, families and people affected by dementia.
The idea of creating a personalised children’s book about dementia came to me about two years ago. Nina’s grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I recall one evening in Finland, sitting around the table with the family, discussing the way her gran had been acting and the things she had been saying. It was tricky enough for us adults to make sense of – so how would a child make sense of it? Lana wasn’t born yet but it got me thinking: how would I explain granny’s dementia to my daughter in the future?
The question “how do you explain dementia to a six year old?” stuck with me and has formed the basis of the project’s mission ever since.
Our 2 minute kickstarter video is live and ready to watch here.
Anyway, back to the Äikäs-Adams family…
Lana is 2.5 years old and the same age as the project. She’s the Boss and we pretty much do as she says – we sleep when she says so (which isn’t very often) and we eat when she lets us (which, again, isn’t very often). Despite the demands, Lana is also the inspiration behind the project.
Everything I do is for her and I hope she will one day look upon The Ally Bally Bee Project and feel proud of her mamma and pappa for making it happen.
Nina is a Swedish-speaking-Finn who moved to the UK in 2011. She speaks fluent Swedish, Finnish, English and Spanish (which will come in handy when we explore translations of the book) and runs her own lifestyle blog at ninaaikas.com. When it comes to The Ally Bally Bee Project’s SEO, blog content and social media, Nina is the person I turn to.
And my name is Matthew. I have a Master’s degree in Health and Social Marketing, and have worked for various charities throughout the UK since 2011. Throughout my career I have managed many complex digital marketing projects and have developed digital strategies for all of my employers – whether that’s for email, social media or website marketing. I hope my experience in this area will continue to benefit The Ally Bally Bee Project, which now boasts more than 16,000 Twitter followers, 600 emails sign ups and 4,000 Instagram followers.
The digital skills we possess as a family are crucial to the project’s success. But there was always a pretty important skill set that neither myself, Nina or Lana possessed – writing and illustrating. In the next blog post I will introduce you to Elvira Ashby (our talented author) and Daisy Wilson (our amazing illustrator). Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.