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Meet the 2018 WellChild Award Winners
Matilda Booth – 2018 Inspirational Child 4-6 years
Matilda, just turned 7, of Sowerby Bridge has Spina Bifida and is paralysed from the chest down, she spent her early years in hospital and has had brain surgery seven times among more than 40 operations. Despite all this Matilda has a great zest for life and impresses all she meets with her great courage, strength and determination. She never complains or feels sorry for herself and her mum says she has the biggest heart and smile ever. When she grows up she wants to be a nurse.
Mckenzie Brackley – 2018 Inspirational Child 4-6 years
Four-year-old Mckenzie from Fife spent three months in intensive care aged two with Acute Flaccid Paralysis following a virus. He has since had to learn to speak, swallow, eat and drink and move again. Despite his own problems Mckenzie cheers up everyone when they are low, and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. He is there for other children when they are scared or sad, he has helped the hospital charity with their fundraising advertisements, and has inspired everyone he has met to never give up.
Chloe Henderson -2018 Inspirational Child 7-10 years
Chloe, aged 10 from Gloucester, was born 10 weeks early and has cerebral palsy which left her unable to walk. Her enormous effort and lust for life has led to her coping beyond anyone’s expectations. Chloe wants to become a ballerina. Though she cannot stand or walk unaided, in 2014 Chloe became the first disabled child in the country to pass her pre-primary ballet award with the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance. She attends mainstream school, loves drama and Brownies and always insists that no allowances are made for her disability.
Jamie Jobson – 2018 Inspirational Child 7-10 years
Jamie, aged 10, from Colchester, has a complex range of conditions including CIPO which severely affects his intestines. He is a wheelchair and walker user, has impaired sight and hearing and is tube fed. Jamie is determined to be independent, he has made astounding progress at his new school, where the head says he has made a huge impact on everybody. He speaks through signing and his mischievous character always shines through. Last year he completed the Parallel London 1K Super Sensory Run in his walker.
Poppy Slater – 2018 Inspirational Young Person 11-14 years
Poppy, 13, from Whitehaven, has Panenteric Crohns Disease and suffers from acute inflammation throughout her digestive tract. She has had extensive hospital stays and takes significant medication to keep her condition in remission as there is no cure. Despite tiredness and nausea she works hard at school and participates in many clubs such as the writers and illustrators club, debate society and drama club and she is even learning Latin. Dad Gary said: “Poppy always thinks of others before herself. She is strong willed, compassionate and determined to make the most of her life.”
Jake Stacey – 2018 Inspirational Young Person 11-14 years
Jake, aged 12, has spinal muscular atrophy, he is a wheelchair user and his muscles are gradually weakening because of the condition, for which there is no cure and only limited treatment. Jake loves acting and wants to be on stage. He has had small TV parts and despite years of being told he couldn’t audition for theatre roles because of his disability, he didn’t give up and finally landed the lead role in Tom Fletcher’s The Christmasaurus last December. He took to the stage at the Hammersmith Apollo and showed the world that, wheelchair or not, he was destined to be a musical theatre star.
Evie Toombes – 2018 Inspirational Young Person 15-18 years
Evie, aged 16, from Skegness, was born with spina bifida requiring spinal surgery which left her with a number of serious health issues. She is tube fed, has to cope with socially isolating symptoms and finds it difficult to put on weight. Evie faces everything head on and regularly presents to local children about hidden disabilities. Evie blogs and mentors young people with health problems to encourage them to get on in life. She loves horse riding and has won many show jumping awards. Her motto is ‘find a way, not an excuse’ and she puts it into practice constantly.
Cameron Dixon – 2018 Inspirational Young Person 15-18 years
Cameron, 16, from Solihull, was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. He spent most of his first three years in hospital. He was not expected to live long but he was born a fighter and has gone from strength to strength. His mum says he has achieved so much, although school and education is incredibly challenging for him he never gives up. He is a junior political editor for a magazine and has been to both Scottish and English Parliament to interview politicians. He also plays Power Chair football for The Villa Rockets and hopes to go to college to do computer game design or political journalism.
Scarlett Mathison – Most Caring Young Person Award
Scarlett, aged 10 from Liverpool, cares for her sister Freya who is three years older. Freya has complex conditions and is severely disabled. From an early age, Scarlett has shown a keen interest in being involved in the care of her older sister and now helps with everything from using her feed pump and operating her bed and hoist to helping her parents give medicines. She is also a great help around the home. Scarlett is very selfless, she understands totally that Freya requires a lot of care and attention, her only concern is her sister and having her well.
Jacob Granger – Most Caring Young Person Award
Jacob, 18, from St Helens, cares for his sister Melissa who has Angelman syndrome which leaves her in need of 24 hour care. Since he was young he has spent time with her and has taught her to achieve goals most doctors said she would never reach. His determination and patience have resulted in Melissa learning first to crawl and then walk, he helps her with her physio which can be painful for her and to take her medication. He also raises funds to help provide her with equipment she will need as time goes on. His mum says Melissa could not have a better big brother than Jacob.
Geraldine Phillips – 2018 Nurse Award
Geraldine has been a conscientious children’s diabetes nurse at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, for more than two decades. When she started as a single handed nurse covering a large clinic population she quickly helped establish a support group for families, including organising an annual activities weekend at an outdoor pursuits centre. The residential weekend is an innovative service in Wales that helps the children meet other young people with diabetes. Colleague Dr Chris Bidder said Geraldine is a dedicated nurse who goes above and beyond what is required and selflessly goes the extra mile for her patients.
Mr Alf Bass – 2018 Doctor Award
Mr Bass, who is Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is nationally one of the foremost surgeons for complex paediatric orthopaedic surgery, and has led on its development. Mr Bass has also led on creating one the main gait laboratories in the UK which has helped change the orthopaedic management of children with cerebral palsy, radically redesigning the whole service, shifting the emphasis from surgery to rehabilitation. Mr Bass’s colleague Glenna Smith said watching him work with the children is a joy and he treats his patients with great care and respect.
The Children’s Community Nurse Team, Winchester – 2018 Team Award
The Winchester CCN team were nominated by a number of the parents whose children they have cared for as well as by a Consultant Paediatrician who has worked with them. They were praised as a small intimate team whose hearts are with their patients and their families. This dedicated, caring and skilled group of nurses offers care which is second to none and nothing is too much trouble for them. One parent said of them: “They became our family and I’m eternally grateful to them. I’m so proud to have met them. I will be forever in their debt and they will be forever in my heart.”
Lauren Small – 2018 Outstanding Professional Award
Lauren Small is described by the parent of a child she cares for as having so much enthusiasm, energy and understanding of children with complex needs. Working with children as a personal assistant and as a music teacher at a special school she goes out of her way to help children have great experiences such as trips to swimming pools, trampoline centres, theatre and cinema. She also shares her musical talent and runs tailored music sessions for local children with complex needs. She has an instinctive understanding of the children and their families, providing emotional and practical support. She always puts the children first.
St James’s Place – 2018 Helping Hands Volunteer Company Award
St James’s Place are worthy winners of the volunteer award, they have set an ambitious target of 12 Helping Hands projects in 2018, more than any company has taken on in a single year. Since the start of their partnership with WellChild, in 2016, teams of St James’s Place staff across the UK have given over 300 days of time and effort to transform 14 gardens, improving the lives of 42 children. They will have completed more by the end of this year, and donated at least £48,000 towards the cost of these life-changing projects. Without the support, dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved at St James’s Place, WellChild simply would not be able to offer this vital help.
“These awards were created to shine a bright light on an amazingly brave group of children and young people. Life for families caring for seriously ill children is exceptionally tough. And without WellChild it is even tougher.”
– WellChild Patron, The Duke of Sussex