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2019 AWARD WINNERS
Lyla-Rose O’Donovan | Inspirational Child 4-6 years
Six year-old Lyla-Rose from Durham has undergone multiple surgeries for a life threatening brain tumour. Her ongoing condition leaves her with extreme fatigue at times and limits the activities she can partake in. Despite long stays in hospital which have interrupted normal life, she has shown much care and consideration for others. She always has a smile on her face and a kind word to say. As well as fundraising for local charities, Lyla-Rose, along with her sister Lilley, has created a Facebook page called Lyla and Lilley’s Stars which gives out certificates to celebrate other children coping bravely with illness and treatments. Lyla-Rose inspires everyone to look at the positives in their lives.
Dexter Spence | Inspirational Child 4-6 years
Dexter is a shy six year-old from Devon who was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2018. He has blossomed over the course of his treatment and hasn’t complained once. In the first week of diagnosis Dexter drew a picture of himself with his sister under a rainbow and gave himself no hair after hearing discussions about side effects. This was then made into a t-shirt design and was sold in its hundreds raising a significant amount of money for charity. Dexter has also shared videos of his treatment including blood transfusions which have highlighted how important donating blood is.
Emmie Narayn-Nicholas | Inspirational Child 7-10 years
Emmie, aged 10, from Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2017 and was very ill during her first year of treatment when she was unable to walk for a time. Despite being in hospital herself, Emmie was always concerned about other people and came up with the idea of Emmie’s Kitchen. The Kitchen is open to all parents with a child staying at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. A free three course dinner is provided once a month and the meal allows parents to meet each other, relax and chat. Emmie has been at every Kitchen night looking after parents and children who attend. Her grandma who nominated her, said: “She is so kind and caring and makes sure everyone is looked after”.
William Magee | Inspirational Child 7-10 years
William, aged 10, from Cheshire, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a terminal muscle wasting condition. William has never complained about his condition or how it affects him. He just gets on with what he can do when he can, although it restricts him from doing many things he once loved to do. William has a wish list and one of the items on it is for him to become a business man. He designed a t-shirt with the logo ‘Anyone can be a hero’ with a stick man named ‘Anyone’ and has since designed two more. He wants to spread inspirational messages to people. Mum Kelly, who nominated him, said: “He is such an inspiration to so many people and when people meet him he touches their hearts.”
Mia Thorne | Inspirational Young Person 11-14 years
Twelve year-old Mia from Mid Glamorgan, has a form of Cerebral Palsy that affects her mobility. Mia uses a wheelchair when her joints become too painful, and never complains. Mia was originally told she would never walk or talk but despite all odds she has turned her disability into a positive by focusing on what she can do rather than what she can’t. Mia is a proud ambassador for two charities, a member of the Youth Parliament of Wales and campaigns on issues including disabled access to children’s parks. She also enjoys ice skating, which is a huge challenge for her. Mum Karene said: “She is very outspoken about what she believes in and pushes herself to the limit.”
Oakley Orange | Inspirational Young Person 11-14 years
Oakley, aged 13 from Kent, has Stevens-Johnson Syndrome in its worst form. In 2013 he lost all of his skin, hair and nails; he spent three months in hospital and was on life support for five weeks. He suffered multiple organ failure and had to learn how to walk, talk and eat again. After he had recovered, Oakley returned to the hospital he was treated at to comfort and support another young child who was experiencing the same symptoms as him. He also stood in front of a room full of people at a blood donor’s award ceremony to explain just how important giving blood is.
Emilie Subiger | Inspirational Young Person 15-18 years
Emilie, aged 16, from Greater London, had a brainstem tumour resection in 2018 which led to an acquired brain injury. Emilie suffered the loss of function in almost everything: speech, movement, mobility, coordination and balance. Emilie also has a tracheostomy. Despite her intensive neuro-rehabilitation pathway, Emilie showed extreme determination to make as full a recovery as possible and get back to her home and her studies. She even found fun ways to fundraise for the team who supported her, giving ‘Neuro Drag Queens’ makeovers to staff to raise money and inspire other young people and their families. Emilie’s ambition is to go to university.
Rhys Bonnell | Inspirational Young Person 15-18 years
Rhys, 17 from Kent, contracted a virus at the age of seven which critically damaged his heart. After spending weeks in hospital, Rhys suffered a cardiac arrest which led to him needing a heart transplant. Post transplant, Rhys has turned his rehabilitation into a passion and now excels in sports and has worked hard to make up for lost time on his school work. He has regularly represented Great Britain in the World Transplant Games and takes time to support and inspire younger members of the team. Rhys is currently studying for his A-Levels and hopes to continue his education at university in the field of medical physics.
William Jones | Most Caring Young Person
William is 16, from Barnsley, and helps care for his younger brother James who has complex medical needs and an undiagnosed genetic disease. When James is in hospital Will visits every night. When James was first discharged from hospital as a baby, Will asked the nurses if he could be trained to use the button for James’ feeding tube; he is always first to do evening medication or give James a feed. Will has his own special needs and works hard to overcome them. He has raised money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and campaigned with Genetic Alliance. Will’s mum says everyone who meets him is blown away by the endless love and care he shows his brother.
Milly Sutherland | Most Caring Young Person
Milly, aged 11 from Merseyside, cared for and protected her sister Sophie from a young age. Sophie had Aicardi Syndrome and a number of complex needs. She sadly passed away in 2018. Milly wanted to be involved in Sophie’s end of life planning including organising a big day out for her, singing, reading stories and holding her hand. Sophie’s carer Nicola nominated Milly for the award and said she always included her sister, loved her, cared for her and supported her parents. Nicola said: “She is such a little person with a big heart.”
Kim Philpotts | Nurse Award
Kim works in General Practice as an advanced nurse practitioner. After having a son with a brain injury, she has also set up a support centre for families raising a child with disabilities in Malvern, Worcestershire. Kim now has over 500 families who are part of the support group and she also offers coffee mornings, preschool groups, after school clubs, cooking clubs, life skills clubs, family trips and training. Her husband, who nominated her on behalf of the families she supports, says she has put her heart and soul into making life that little bit easier for these families. She offers a supportive ear for those with developmental and medical needs and helps them find services they require.
Dr Sarah Coy | Doctor Award
Dr Sarah Coy, from Scotland, has worked as a General Practitioner as well as in Paediatrics. Sarah believes children and families should have the chance to have more of their care at home and regularly visits her patients to avoid them having more trips to hospital. When a child sadly passes away she will go round to the family’s home for support.
WellChild Nurse Aileen Crichton, who nominated her for the award, said: “What makes Sarah stand out from others is her caring and compassionate nature and her absolute commitment to the children and families she cares for. She makes herself available to staff and families without restriction to offer support and advice.”
Derbyshire Children’s Hospital Youth Service | Team Award
The Derbyshire Children’s Hospital Youth Service includes three dedicated health based youth workers, supported by volunteers, providing support to young people with long term health conditions. They work to improve health and social outcomes for young people who have more than the usual challenges of being a teenager. The team runs a weekly youth group to encourage young people to meet others with long term health conditions. This helps reduce social isolation and also empowers young people to achieve more independence and realise life can be fun even with their health condition.
Youth Forum is another group that the Youth Service facilitates. This group aims to empower young people to make decisions about how services are run at the hospital and call for changes in policy.
Helen Uludag | Outstanding Professional
Helen teaches children with additional learning needs in Essex. A parent of one of Helen’s students describes her as ‘the other person’ bringing up their daughter, dedicated to providing a unique learning experience for all the children in her class and truly inspirational in making a difference. Helen goes above and beyond to support her students, calling parents to let them know if something special has happened during school, inviting and including siblings to special lessons and activities and keeping a look out for anything which might help her students’ progress. Another parent explains that Helen makes the day-to-day things for her students happier and easier, and that makes her more impressive.
Kingsley Napley | Volunteer Award
Legal firm Kingsley Napley LLP have been superb supporters of WellChild for more than three years both through fundraising and by arranging teams of staff volunteers for life-transforming Helping Hands home and garden transformation projects. They are wonderful to work with, exceptionally reliable and hardworking, even in the face of adversity. This was demonstrated last year when Kingsley Napley LLP volunteers worked hard alongside the WellChild team to ensure two young boys in Essex were not left with an incomplete garden after vital tools were stolen overnight in the middle of a project. Kingsley Napley LLP volunteers were immediately committed to minimising any delay in restarting work and even provided additional funding to enable WellChild to replace the lost equipment. The boys’ mother described their response and the benefits of the completed garden as ‘just amazing’ and reported that the changes have had a significant impact on both her sons’ physical and emotional wellbeing.
“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
2019 WellChild Awards partners
Photography and video statement
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