2022 WellChild Award Winners

Earlier this month we met our winners at the 2022 WellChild Awards, in association with GSK. This week we will celebrate our winners and their inspirational stories.

Watch the 2022 WellChild Awards Online

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Child and Young Person Winners


Inspirational Child 4-6 years

Category kindly sponsored by GSK

Henry was born with serious health problems affecting his ability to breathe, eat and speak. Henry spent the first 15 months of his life in hospital, including nine months on a cardiac intensive care ward. In that time he underwent countless lifesaving operations. Home at last, Henry still faces an uncertain future with continuing hospital appointments and procedures to help with his respiratory and digestive systems. Lifesaving airway surgery unfortunately led to damage to Henry’s voice. Now Henry is attached to a ventilator 24 hours a day, which keeps him alive. Undaunted, Henry is defying all predictions and determined to show how well you can live with a tracheostomy. He climbs trees, plays football, and rides a bike without stabilisers, pulling a 12kg trailer containing his ventilator in his wake. Always pushing the boundaries, Henry’s also taken up swimming, taught himself Makaton sign language and remarkably regained his voice. He’s helped raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and at school he’s flourishing academically and socially.


Inspirational Child 7-11 years

Category kindly sponsored by IDILIQ Group

10-year-old Shakeerah is the only known living survivor of a rare bacterial brain infection which she picked up when receiving treatment for a brain tumour, diagnosed just after her first birthday. After treatment Shakeerah was left profoundly deaf and visually impaired and has a feeding tube and tracheostomy. She then became extremely ill with a rare and lethal bacterial infection, which took months to clear. 120 general anaesthetics and 46 operations later, Shakeerah confounded doctors’ predictions that she wouldn’t be able to fight the infection and that her tumour had a high chance of returning. She continues to change opinions on what is possible; learning to walk in five weeks rather than the expected three months and taught herself to communicate with the Makaton signing system by watching TV. With her ‘can-do’ attitude Shakeerah is a star at her mainstream school and always takes time to support the charities which helped with her rehabilitation. She takes everything in her stride, touching the hearts of everyone she meets with her cheeky sense of humour.


Inspirational Young Person 12-14 years

Category kindly sponsored by KGJ

13 year old Isabelle has a range of serious health conditions including autism, ADHD, hypermobility and Irlen Syndrome. She has a trauma response to adults and significant anxiety. She has had a difficult journey through school so far. She suffered bullying in school which had an enormous impact on her mental health. During the pandemic Isabelle was not able to go to school. In September 2020 Isabelle returned to school however again suffered from bullying. Isabelle worked really hard and displayed amazing perseverance and resilience to start to rebuild her mental health. In July 2021 Isabelle started at a new school and has done amazingly well.


Inspirational Young Person 15-18 years

Category kindly sponsored by St Nectan’s Glen

18 year old Louisa Sweet was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia just before her 13th birthday. It is a life limiting neuro-degenerative condition. The ataxia has prevented her from walking, affected her speaking and eating. Her mum says she has gone from being a socially busy butterfly to a frightened and physically limited young person. The family spends a lot of time at hospital appointments with Louisa. She continues to lose her physical mobility, her speech and her fine motor skills are weakening. Her two brothers at home also have additional needs. Louisa helps out where she can with them too. She has saved for an assistance dog as a companion and last May she collected her puppy Delilah. Louisa has also signed up to Zebedee modelling agency as a neuro diverse model. Louisa is described as fiercely independent and adamant to stay as physically mobile as possible for as long as she can.


Caring Child

Category kindly sponsored by Cherry Orchard Online

Harry, aged eight, looked after his younger brother Reuben who had a very rare brain condition which limited his life span. Harry helped his parents with everyday tasks to keep Reuben comfortable and happy, such as entertaining and playing with him in such a way that Reuben felt totally loved and included. Harry came up with the idea of fundraising. He did a 45-mile walk to raise awareness of Reuben’s condition and raise funds for the hospices that looked after Reuben and supported the family. Next, he created a much bigger challenge, racing the distance of twice around the moon with the help of friends and family with 16,000 miles worth of challenges. Then came Harry’s Christmas Wish, donating money and presents for several local charities in time for Christmas. Sadly Reuben passed away five days before Christmas. Harry promised Reuben he would climb a mountain in his memory. Harry and his family completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in April to help Harry fulfil his last promise.


Caring Young Person

Category kindly sponsored by Cherry Orchard Online

18 year old Jack was dedicated to caring for his seriously ill little sister, Sophie, before her death last year. Jack loved having a baby sister but sadly, 11 months after Sophie was born, she became seriously unwell and was diagnosed with acute necrotising encephalitis. Due to this she almost lost her life following complications when she contracted influenza. When Sophie finally left hospital with severe disabilities and needing 24/7 care, Jack stepped up asking to be trained in all aspects of her care whilst continuing to excel at his schoolwork. His help became invaluable, particularly during the pandemic. Loving big brother, Jack, was devastated when Sophie died after contracting COVID-19, but has kept his promise to make her proud and secure a university place.


Special Recognition

Category kindly sponsored by Speedy

Tony, aged seven, was just 41 days old when he suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his birth parents, suffering multiple fractures, dislocations and blunt trauma. He developed sepsis, toxic shock and multi organ failure and needed life support. He wasn’t expected to survive. Thankfully he defied the odds and was adopted by the Hudgell family. At the age of three the family made the difficult decision to have his legs amputated due to the irreversible damage. Tony uses a wheelchair and last year started to learn to walk on crutches with his new prosthetic legs. Tony’s strength, determination and never give up attitude has been inspirational. The nation got behind him with a challenge to walk every day of June on his new legs. He walked 13.5km, raising over £1.7 million for Evelina Children’s Hospital. Tony set up the Tony Hudgell Foundation to raise funds to help children who have suffered abuse. This year saw the backing of Parliament to introduce Tony’s Law which aims to increase the punishment for child cruelty to life sentences.

Mathew and Nicholas

Special Recognition

Category kindly sponsored by Speedy

Identical twins 13-year-old Mathew and Nicholas, contracted a life-altering auto-immune neuropsychiatric disorder aged ten. Following a chest infection both boys went on to develop Paediatric Acute Onset Neuropsychiatric Disorder (PANS) where their immune systems attacked the brain rather than the bacterial infection. PANS transformed the previously healthy, fun-loving boys, helplessly witnessing each other’s distress, experiencing seizures, psychoses, depression and other mental health symptoms. Despite difficulties getting medical care, because PANS is so rare, and being confined to home and away from school for months on end, the boys showed remarkable strength and resilience throughout. They have taken full advantage of periods of remission to begin to rebuild their lives and make the most of activities like swimming and cycling.

Professional Winners

Lizzie Penn

Outstanding Professional

Category kindly sponsored by The Belfry

Senior Play Specialist, Lizzie Penn, has made a positive difference to thousands of children and young people in her 23 years at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Lizzie and her team strive to reduce anxiety for children staying in hospital or undergoing medical procedures by finding entertaining distractions. Families have a special place in their hearts for Lizzie who provides a great source of support and is always on a mission to build positive memories and find happiness even in the most difficult situations. With her infectious smile, Lizzie gets to know each child and stops at nothing to organise activities to light up their eyes. She generates fun for children, especially when they are in hospital over important occasions such as birthdays and Christmas, and went the extra mile during the pandemic when visitor limitations made hospital stays even tougher than usual. Determined to pass on her immeasurable skill and knowledge, Lizzie also mentors new play specialists.

Dr Cheryl Adams

Doctor Award

Category kindly sponsored by HELLO!

Consultant Community Paediatrician, Dr Cheryl Adams, leads the care provided in Coventry and Warwickshire for families whose children have a diagnosis which means their life may be limited. Cheryl’s colleagues wanted to recognise her exceptional contribution to enabling these children and their families to be in comfort and at peace as they approach the end of life. Her assured and down-to-earth manner puts families at ease. She is determined to find ways, even when children have very complex health needs, for families to have moments of calm and normality, like chatting about something other than the diagnosis, having a party or going to school. Always putting the child first, she makes herself available at any time of day and night at a child’s home, hospice or hospital, so they can continue to make choices that will help build happy memories. Cheryl is generous in sharing her expertise and knowledge with other members of the team and is constantly searching for imaginative ways to improve the support families receive as they care for their children and in bereavement.

Evelyn Rodger

Nurse Award

Category kindly sponsored by GSK

Evelyn Rodger from Edinburgh is a Diana Children’s Nurse with Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) having joined the charity in 2014. Based in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary she also covers five neonatal units across Southeast of Scotland as well as delivering training for NHS Lothian and CHAS staff. Evelyn’s dedication and her collaborative approach creates a seamless service to families. Evelyn pioneered a memory making project called ‘Joes Toes’ which has raised over £15,000 since 2018 to allow CHAS and neonatal units to purchase the materials required to make 3D baby hand and foot-casts, respectfully done in baby Joe’s name. Joe was one of twins who was sadly stillborn. Part of Evelyn’s role as Diana Nurse is to provide bereavement support and to help parents find ways to create precious lasting memories with their babies. Joe’s mother Marie said: “Evelyn is a compassionate, kind, gentle woman who is incredibly knowledgeable in bereavement care and we feel privileged that she was there to support us in making cherished memories with Joe and with saying goodbye with no regrets.”

Dr Pat Carragher

Legacy Award

Category kindly sponsored by The Chelsea FC Foundation

Dr Pat Carragher, from West Lothian, is Medical Director at Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS). In Summer of 2022, Dr Carragher retired as Medical Director at CHAS after nearly 39 years of working as a doctor. He has encountered periods of great change in his years as a medic including in Primary Care when he was a GP in Kinross before becoming Rachel House’s first hospice doctor and formally beginning work in Children’s Palliative Care in March 1996. Dr Carragher has led the changes to CHAS’s medical service provisions through the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Carragher has also helped lead the CHAS hospital teams in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh through this period of transformation, providing clinical leadership and support in the planning and delivery of palliative care.

Follow WellChild on social media to celebrate each winner over the coming week!

Twitter: @WellChild | Instagram: @WellChild | Facebook: @WellChildUK | LinkedIn: WellChild

Thank you to our sponsors

Headline sponsor and sponsor of the Inspirational Child 4 - 6 Years Award and Nurse Award

Sponsor of the 2022 Inspirational Child 7 -11 Years Award

Sponsor of the 2022 Inspirational Young Person 12 - 14 Years Award

Sponsor of the 2022 Inspirational Young Person 15 - 18 Years Award

Sponsor of the 2022 Caring Child and Young Person Awards

Sponsor of the 2022 Special Recognition Awards

Sponsor of the 2022 Outstanding Professional Award

Sponsor of the 2022 Doctor Award

Sponsor of the 2022 Legacy Award

Sponsor of the Drinks Reception

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