Ellie Simmonds, the Paralympic champion, has expressed her heartfelt gratitude to fans for the overwhelming support she has received following the broadcast of an ITV documentary that delves into her personal journey of reuniting with her birth mother. The former Strictly Come Dancing star, who has achondroplasia dwarfism, also took the opportunity to extend her thanks to everyone involved in the making of the film, as they played a significant role in shedding light on the topics of disability and adoption.
Simmonds, who was given up for adoption just two weeks after her birth, described the documentary, titled “Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family,” as a profound experience that has helped her find answers to the lingering questions she has carried with her for many years. The film follows her emotional journey of reconnecting with her birth mother while exploring the intricate relationship between disability and adoption.
The documentary also depicted the heartwarming offscreen reunion between Simmonds and her birth mother, a meeting conducted privately to protect her identity. Simmonds expressed that this reunion has made her feel more complete, allowing her to explore her identity and connect with her biological roots. All the questions that I had to ask her, and she answered them, and it makes you a bit more whole.”
Although Simmonds remains uncertain about how this newfound connection will evolve, she expressed her gratitude for going through this profound process, as it has provided answers to the questions she has carried for years. She proudly declared her love for her family and emphasized that her family has grown even larger through this experience.
The documentary aims to shine a light on the exceptional work carried out by social services teams across the UK and to explore the existing barriers within the adoption process, both social and institutional, in order to challenge any unwarranted stigma associated with adopting disabled children.
Ellie Simmonds rose to national prominence during the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, where, at the tender age of 13, she won two gold medals. Her exceptional achievements led her to receive the prestigious BBC Young Sports Personality Of The Year award that same year, and she was honored with an MBE. Simmonds continued her remarkable swimming career, competing in the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics in London and Rio de Janeiro, respectively, and securing three more gold medals. In recognition of her accomplishments, she was upgraded to an OBE in 2013. Simmonds also captivated audiences with her appearance on the popular television show Strictly Come Dancing in 2022.