PRESS RELEASE 3rd October, 2016 - for immediate release
Prince Harry praises remarkable children and young people with exceptional health needs at the 2016 WellChild Awards Tonight 3rd October, 2016 Prince Harry and a host of celebrities recognised the courage of children and young people with exceptional health needs at the annual WellChild Awards, in association with GSK at the Dorchester, Park Lane, London Also honoured at the prestigious star–studded ceremony run by WellChild – the national charity for seriously ill children - were dedicated professionals, volunteers, brothers and sisters who have gone the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of seriously ill children, young people and their families.
The high profile Awards ceremony was attended by many of WellChild’s celebrity supporters as well as Patron Prince Harry who met all the winners and their families at a reception before the ceremony. Hosts for the night were Dick and Dom and Gaby Roslin and Awards were presented by, among others, Sir Rod Stewart with his son Alastair, Ashley Banjo and Perri Kiely from Diversity, Olympic swimming legend, Mark Foster and Ollie Locke and Spencer Matthews from Made in Chelsea.
Speaking at the 2016 WellChild Awards ceremony, Prince Harry said: “This is now my ninth WellChild awards and each year at this remarkable event, I am profoundly moved by the people I have met and the stories they have shared with me.
It is one of those moments in life when you are left in awe at the strength of human character, particularly amongst those so young. Watching these children and young people face challenges with such determination, positivity and good humour, never fails to take my breath away.”
With hundreds of nominations received from across the country, the difficult job of choosing winners in all WellChild Award categories is given, each year, to an esteemed panel of judges. That panel consists of leading health professionals and others with an interest in children’s health and includes children and young people who face serious illness themselves.
WellChild’s Director of Programmes, Linda Partridge, is also a member of that panel. She said: “It is a tremendous challenge to select winners from the many, many truly amazing nominations we receive from all over the country. All the panel members are moved by the bravery of the children, the stories of selfless care and support and the dedication of the doctors, nurses, teachers, brothers and sisters who make a great difference to the lives of seriously ill children and young people.
“The Awards are a perfect demonstration of WellChild’s commitment to helping as many seriously ill children and their families as we can and embody our aim of raising awareness of their needs. We are grateful to GSK for their continued support of this incredible event.”
At this star-studded event, the winners will meet a host of WellChild celebrity supporters, who attend each year to celebrate the courage of brave children and
honour the dedicated work of the country’s health professionals. In addition to Royal Patron, Prince Harry, previous WellChild Award evenings have been attended by rock legend Rod Stewart with his wife Penny Lancaster Stewart, comedian Russell Howard, pop singer Pixie Lott, actress Barbara Windsor, pop band Scouting for Girls, Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne, TV presenters Vernon Kay and Tess Daly and many more.
Photograph: Mary receiving her award from Gabby Roslin and Scouting for Girls.
Photograph: Mary with her daughter Catrin and Prince Harry.
Photograph: Mary with her team. Left to right: Anne McDermott, Claire McMorland, Diane Irvine, Mary Jeans, Sandra Richardson, Stephanie Gibson, Jean Stapley, Ruth Gibson.
For further information, please contact: Chris Hill – WellChild Tel: 01242 530007 Email: [email protected]
Isobel McFarlane – WellChild Tel: 07803 906816 Email: [email protected]
Pictures and video from this year’s WellChild Awards are available to view here: Flickr:
Notes to Editors:
This year’s WellChild Award winners are: 2016 Inspirational Child 4-6 years - Female
Myzat Mugomba Five year old Myzat from London has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, a life limiting condition causing her to need a wheelchair. Myzat attends a mainstream school full time with the support of a carer where she loves drama and books. She was nominated by a nurse who cares for her because Myzat has a tremendous zest for life, positive attitude and thirst for knowledge and experience despite her exceptional health needs. 2016 Inspirational Child 4-6 years - Male
Oliver Carroll Five year old Ollie from Cheshire was born a healthy baby but from the age of two he developed problems with his walking and speech and was eventually diagnosed the rare genetic condition Battens Disease. This will take away Ollie's ability to walk, see and eat, to the point where his muscles will stop working, and will be unable to breathe on his own. There is no treatment for his life limiting condition. One of Ollie’s nominators described him as “the loveliest and happiest boy in the world. Despite the daily battle he faces.” 2016 Inspirational Child 7-10 years - Female
Mikayla Beames Nine year old Mikayla has been fighting a brain tumour since the age of four which has severely affected her vision, she is now registered blind. Mikayla wanted to help other children fighting cancer so set up Team Mikayla – a charity which grants wishes for children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Mikayla’s slogan is “dream, pray, miracles all the way” and she is heavily involved in fundraising. Her cousin described her
as “the most wonderful, happiest and bravest little girl I know and will do her best to fight anything.” 2016 Inspirational Child 7-10 years - Male
Samuel Merrick Sam, aged eight, was born prematurely at 26 weeks which has left him with lots of significant health needs – he has chronic lung disease, an immune deficiency, is fed through a tube, breathes via a ventilator, had a bone marrow transplant, the list goes on. Despite this, Sam is a bubbly and enthusiastic young man who inspires those around him. With the help of his parents, Sam set up Sam's Haven – a charity that provides free respite breaks for children with similar health problems. 2016 Inspirational Young Person 11-14 years - Female
Emily Wright Emily, 13, was diagnosed at the age of eight with a large brain tumour affecting her vision. She had 18 months of chemotherapy and although the tumour has shrunk and gone into remission she lost most of her eyesight. Despite this Emily doesn’t let anything hold her back. At school, she’s the goalie for the school football team (they use a bright pink ball). She also attends Triathlon club weekly; water-skis with the British Disabled Water-ski association and recently learnt to ski on snow. Emily also promotes awareness of cancer and visual impairment in the pupils and staff at school. 2016 Inspirational Young Person 11-14 years - Male
Danny Griffiths 13 year old Danny has Recessive Dystrophic Epidermylosa bullosa - a disfiguring life limiting condition where a simple knock or hug can leave huge blisters which need bursting and dressing. Internal linings are also affected causing painful blisters to his mouth, throat and eyes. Despite every day being a battle Danny is full of life and has a wicked sense of humour! He loves football, playing every day with his school friends, in spite of the pain, and would love to be able to play for a local team. 2016 Inspirational Young Person 15-18 years - Female
Nikita Fairclough 18 year old Nikita suffers from a number of medical complexities which has meant she has spent long periods in hospital, often battling life-threatening infections. Nikita iswheelchair dependent and has to be fed via a tube. She has missed out on much of her education but is planning to train as a make-up artist. Despite this, Nikita never complains and is a brilliant big sister to her siblings who have some of the same medical conditions. Always wanting to help others, Nikita and her friend set up a charity to support children with medical conditions and she is also a child ambassador for Caudwell Children’s Charity. 2016 Inspirational Young Person 15-18 years - Male
Myles Sketchley Myles, 17, has numerous medical conditions including cerebral palsy, scoliosis, respiratory failure and heart problems and is wheelchair dependent. Despite this Myles has a great outlook on life, a fantastic sense of humour and always sees the good in everything. He became an ambassador for Strongbones Children’s Charity Trust - a charity that helps children with bone conditions. He created a bravery award given monthly to a child who is going through a bad time. Despite needing help himself, he
works tirelessly each month to produce blogs and vlogs on interesting places for children with disabilities to visit. Most Caring Young Person Award – Female
Brodie Meredith 15 year old Brodie’s sister, Livvy, suffered from the rare and serious Rett Syndrome. From dancing in shops to keep Livvy smiling, to holding her hand when she had seizures, Brodie was there for her until she sadly passed away. Since her sister’s death Brodie has joined her family in setting up a charity in Livvy’s name to make memories for disabled children and their families. The family have also fostered two boys with severe disabilities. Brodie is getting trained in gastro feeding and emergency injections so she can be there for her new brothers. Most Caring Young Person Award – Male
Armaan Aslam Armaan, aged nine, had two older brothers, Hassan and Arslan, who both had Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative, life limiting condition. Sadly Arslan died in March 2015 aged 16. Hassan is now 24 and in the later stages of the condition. Armaan is a lovely, caring boy who helps look after his older brother. He has learnt how to use the medical equipment needed to support Hassan, helps feed him and sits for hours to entertain him. Armaan also helps his mum around the house and looks after his younger sister. He has taken part in charity events to raise funds for hospices who have cared for his brothers. Good Morning Britain Young Hero Award
Jessica Davis Jessica, aged 10, lives with and cares for her brother William who has complex health needs as well as autism and learning difficulties. Her mum also has Multiple Sclerosis. Jessie has severe hypermobility and often suffers pain. Her own life has been restricted by her brother and mum’s disabilities but she views everyone on their own merits and sees the positives in all around her. She is learning sign language to speak to William has done work for charity and wants to be a Neurologist. Her opinion is that you should be nice to everyone as the world’s a nicer place if people are kind. 2016 Nurse Award
Mary Jeans “A health visitor beyond compare,” is how Mary is described by WellChild Nurse Aileen who nominated her for her award. Working in South Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnerships Health Visiting Team Mary is praised for regularly going the extra mile for the families in her care. Mary really cares for the children and the families and provides much more than her job role. She springs into action to make life as easy as she can for children and families offering amazing support.
2016 Team Award
Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice, Liverpool Zoe's Place Baby Hospice provides wonderful ‘home from home’ environments for babies and infants aged from birth to five years old who have life limiting or life threatening conditions. They offer palliative, respite and end of life care, free of charge,
and ongoing support to families. WellChild Nurse Elaine, who nominated the team for the award said: “I have experienced firsthand the impact of the compassion, reassurance and support that this hospice team brings to families.” 2016 Professional Award
Jean-Paul Van Weert One of the families who nominated Jean-Paul for this award called him a physiotherapist with a difference. “He makes everyone feel that they are the most important person in the world. All the children he treats love him to bits.” He has given up his own time to help set up and run a parents support forum called Let’s Talk for parents and carers of children with profound and multiple learning difficulties which now meets each month. He is described as professional, modest, kind and empathetic and brings a smile to everyone he meets. 2016 Helping Hands Volunteer Company Award
Speedy Speedy, the equipment and tool hire firm, is this year’s worthy winner of the Helping Hands Volunteer Award. In recent years the firm has undertaken 13 WellChild Helping Hands projects to help seriously ill children and their families. Speedy’s hard working staff are always keen and enthusiastic on the projects, which are fully funded by the firm. Speedy has also introduced WellChild to other companies that are doing projects with us this year, and they also continue to support all our projects with free tools! Special Recognition Winner
#Notanurse_but Parent Advisory Group The highly successful campaign #Notanurse_but has been led by a group of remarkable parents from WellChild’s Parent Advisory Group. They approached WellChild with the idea to shine a light on the reality of life for families like theirs, whose contribution to providing high levels of medical care at home often goes unrecognised. The campaign is also gathering evidence to highlight gaps in support and demonstrate the positive impact on families when good support is available. These parents have spearheaded the campaign and bravely shared, through social media and in the press, what happens behind the closed doors of their homes. In a short time #Notanurse_but has gone from strength to strength. Videos made by the parents have been viewed more than 40,000 times and the campaign has met with widespread acclaim from health professionals and other parents who have felt personally helped by it. In partnership with these amazing parents, WellChild continues to build an evidence base to influence decision makers and keep the voice of the child and family at the heart of decision-making. WellChild WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children, committed to improving the quality of life for children across the UK with serious illness, or exceptional health needs. Many of these children spend months, even years in hospital simply because there is no support enabling them to leave. WellChild exists to ensure they are given the best chance to thrive – at home, together with their families. The charity, which has Prince Harry as its Patron, funds numerous programmes aimed at ensuring that children can be cared for at home with their families wherever possible:
A nationwide network of WellChild Nurses support families along their journey from hospital to home and ensure they have the confidence and competence to meet the exceptional health needs of their children once at home. WellChild Helping Hands is a company volunteer scheme that transforms bedrooms and gardens to make life at home safer and more suitable for a child with exceptional health needs. Families also benefit from connecting with others in similar situations for mutual support and advice through the WellChild Family Tree Network, bringing together hundreds of families across the UK via online and face-to-face support groups.
WellChild also has a successful history of campaigning and funding ground-breaking research aimed at improving treatment and care for children and young people. For more information, please see www.wellchild.org.uk
Pictures from this year’s WellChild Awards are available to view here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskgXmmcv
GSK: GSK – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com. GSK media enquiries – 020 8047 5502.