Over the years Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards has recognised and honoured some of the region’s bravest and most deserving children and young adults. In 2014 we also started to identify local Groups and Organisations that contribute significantly to the welfare of children in the community. You can read their stories and watch their videos here:
Winners 0 - 12 years
Sporting AchievementRosie Ford
|Rosie started to become unwell in December 2015. She had the flu spray at school so I wondered if the high temperatures were the side effects of that. I decided to take Rosie to the Dr as her glands were swollen and she had a spot on her hand and her forehead. The Dr wasn’t happy sending Rosie home and asked if I would drive her to Harrogate Hospital for a blood test. That was at 10am on Monday 14th December, by 3pm that day they had diagnosed Rosie with suspected Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and we were blue lighted to Leeds General Infirmary. Rosie quickly became very ill as they began to flush out her system and on the following day she had her first, of many, theatre trips to take a sample of her bone marrow. Over the following days they put Rosie a Hickman Line in and she began her first, of four, rounds of chemotherapy. They informed us early on that we would not be going home and that Rosie would need a bone marrow transplant. It was an incredibly difficult and stressful time but Rosie remained smiley, positive and courageous throughout. She always did what the nurses and Drs needed her to do and she never refused medicines or felt sorry for herself. She enjoyed the playroom and loved having visitors. Rosie braved the shave for Macmillan and joined in any fundraiser events we could adapt for her. We got the good news from Anthony Nolan that they had found a donor, a 22 year old man from Italy. Rosie went into the the transplant ward beginning of April 2016 and started a gruelling conditioning chemo programme that lasted 10 days to wipe out her blood counts for them to start rising again with the new bone marrow. It was hard, Holly and Ben were too young to visit and could only wave, play through the glass door. We had strict rules on visitors in the transplant ward and felt very isolated. However with Rosie’s positivity and the amazing team around her we got through it. Rosie is now a member of the Leeds Children’s Transplant Team and has taken part in 3 British games winning many medals. This year as well as representing Leeds in Wales, where she won 2 Silver medals in the 50m sprint and Ball Throw Rosie is representing the Great Britain team at the World Transplant Games in Newcastle. We couldn’t be prouder of all our children for their bravery and love for one another. To say Steve and I are lucky is an understatement.|
Young CarerOliver Van Berckel
|Oliver is an amazing 9 year who selflessly supports his brother Kit who has cerebral palsy. Oliver helps his parents school and even gave up his football training so that Kit could attend a local disability football team ‘Adversity United’. Oliver also attend Adversity United and helps his brother and others feel part of the inclusive team. Both Oliver and Kit are avid Manchester City supporters and regularly go to support their team. Oliver most definitely deserves recognition for his outstanding support and care of others. His kindness and maturity is beyond his years. He is a true inspiration.|
Special RecognitionJack Sowden
|Jack has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic, progressive muscle wasting disease. Jack was diagnosed age 4 and we were told DMD was life-limiting, with no treatments or cure and we should go home and ‘make memories’. Recently however Jack has started a clinical trial that could help slow the muscle wasting. He has to endure all sorts of tests on his hospital visits, blood tests, physical and mental tests, ECG, bone scans and many more. All these are tough for a seven year old but he goes through all of these procedures with a joke and a cheeky smile so he can hep find treatments for all the boys with DMD. Jack is still walking at the moment but uses a wheelchair for long distances, this makes keeping up with his friends difficult.|
FundraiserThe Childminding Gang
My partners childminding gang go above and beyond. They don’t raise lots of money but all the four children get involved to raise money for various local charities. Two of the group have additional needs too. One was born with his heart back to front and in time will need a heart transplant and the other has downs syndrome. They plan ideas and carry out their actions. They have had bun sales planning an Easter bingo which I will send pictures of them in action, bag packing etc The four of them held a Christmas party and they went to local businesses for donations and ran a lively tombola & raffle People in our community think they are amazing and inspiring and I think they are a credit to my partner and inspirational to their peers.
Outstanding BraveryImogen Rose Sauve
|Imogen, an IVF baby, was born with a complex heart defect. Three days after her birth she had her first open heart surgery. She has now had her 5th open heart surgery but the following day suffered a stroke which affected the right side of her body. Having to re learn to use her right arm, hand, learn to sit up, stand up and take baby steps to learn to walk again. We are now going over her education and checking on where we are with her numbers, alphabet, colours, shapes and planets. In all this she has shown that she is still at the level she was before, bar a few mistakes.|
Winners 13 - 18 years
Sporting AchievementRhiannon Horsmann
|Like myself and her younger brother Rhiannon has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. This is a connective tissue disorder which affects most of the body’s systems. For Rhiannon it affects her bladder, bowel and joints leaving her prone to dislocation and partial dislocation. She suffers daily pain from where her joints are regularly “slipping”. She suffers anxiety and hearing issues separate to this too! Despite this she plays rugby league. Something which noted on a recent clinic letter the consultants find amazing! She throws herself into both training and matches with abandon. She is constantly improving in a sport that most with her condition would avoid due to the risks but it is a sport she loves and she is determined to succeed within it.|
Young CarerAlexandra Ainley
|Alex started modelling at Overgate Hospice fashion shows 6 years ago & modelled in every show up to being 13. At 13 she started making items to be sold at the fashion shows and in shops. Ranging from Wine Glasses, Charms, Cups and Saucers, scented candles, jars of candles/sweets & this year she upcycled furniture that has been donated to the shop. Alex gives all the monies raised to the Hospice. In total Alex has raised over £550 from doing this. As soon as she became 14 years old she started volunteering in our Elland shop every Saturday afternoon has joined our Hi-Notes choir & on Christmas Day last year Alex & her mum Jane went onto the Inpatient Unit serving refreshments and mince pies to our patients and their families.|
Special RecognitionLaura Powell
|Laura was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014 aged 9 and underwent surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. She raised thousands for various charities whilst having treatment. Age 14 the brain cancer has returned and Laura has been told to make a bucket list. She had two lots of brain surgery in May and then a round of Chemo at the start of June and then spent a week in hospital on a drip treated for Sepsis as she got very ill. In hospital she decided to set up a YouTube channel to share her feelings and give advice to others in her situation. We are all immensely proud of Laura and she is a true joy and inspiration to everyone. https://youtu.be/z71ytNldihY This is one of her recent videos on the channel Big C Little Warrior.|
|At 7 Leah and her family were involved in an RTA. She sustained severe injuries and lost her father and two stepbrothers in the accident. After battling through rehabilitation and learning the most basic skills again, such as walking, she had to come to terms with a huge loss.The Yorkshire Air Ambulance tended the family at the accident scene. Leah wanted to give something back in recognition and to thank them for their efforts in trying to keep her brothers alive. On 19 May she took to the skies in a 10,000ft skydive, raising over £1000.Leah has also raised money for memorial benches for her family and tries to remember them in the best possible ways. She has a positive attitude and uses her family as inspiration and continues to fundraise.|
Outstanding BraveryLibbie Booker
|Libbie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2017 age 13. Unfortunately she relapsed whilst on chemotherapy in September 2018 and had a bone marrow transplant on 21/12/18. She has been in hospital in isolation for the past 3 months and came home 3 weeks ago. She will remain in semi isolation until this summer. Despite missing 2 years of schooling and not being able to do all the things her 15 year old friends are doing she remains motivated happy and positive. When able she always tries her hardest. She is busy revising for her GCSEs this May. She played piano at the Leeds hospital Christmas concert the day before starting whole brain radiotherapy. She completed her bronze D of E last year whilst on chemotherapy.|
Group Award Winners
Sunshine & Smiles
Sunshine & Smiles
Sunshine & Smiles is a charity who provide support in Leeds for children and young people who have Down syndrome and their families.
The small charity is coming up to its 6th year and is parent led while overseen by a team of four trustees. They are the only specific support network in Leeds who fulfil a vital role in the local community.
Supporting families in Leeds
When a parent is told their baby has Down syndrome it can often take time to adjust & work through many different emotions. We offer one to one support to families in both pre-natal and post-natal stages. All our staff who conduct home visits are parents to a child who has Down syndrome and can share their personal experiences.
All our services are free and accessible to families in Leeds and the surrounding areas. We offer speech and language therapy to all ages and run weekly activities to encourage development and social skills.
No one is disabled when we are given equal opportunities and have no obstacles to overcome
We aim to improve the lives and opportunities for children and young people with Down syndrome and continue to raise awareness and challenge preconceptions in the wider community.
Last year, in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day the charity ran a pilot, pop up Café in Headingley. This milestone enabled young adults to learn skills such as barista training, customer services & gain food safety qualifications, as well as raising awareness with the public about what Sunshine & Smiles offer.
One year on and the charity now have a shop & café in the heart of Headingley, run by an amazing team of people, 9 of who have Down Syndrome.
21 Co. opened in January and people have come from all over the UK to visit. This has been Sunshine & Smiles’ biggest project to date, and the charity hope this inspiring enterprise will encourage other businesses and organisations to be more inclusive, and to give them confidence in supporting people with a learning disability into their workplace.
Louise’s Story – told by her Mum, Maxine
My daughter Louise is 25 and has Down Syndrome. We have been involved with Sunshine and Smiles for about 4 years.
The support from this charity has been invaluable. Speech has always been an issue for Louise, she has always had delayed language skills. It was always difficult to have access to a speech and language therapist during her school years. Now, thanks to Sunshine and Smiles she has monthly speech and language sessions.
Last March 2018, Louise worked at the pop up café set up by Sunshine and Smiles. It was here that we really saw what she was capable of! She successfully completed barista training and then put those skills into practice at the café. Up until then we, as parents never thought she would be able to work. How wrong we were! Thanks to Sunshine and Smiles she now works regular shifts at their café in Headingley, 21Co and she loves it. I have never seen anyone so excited to be going to work.
Louise has benefited greatly from Sunshine and Smiles and we have too as parents knowing she is improving all the time in a very safe and caring environment.
Thank you for your support
To ensure that the support network is sustainable in the long term and that we can continue to provide support and activities, we must rely on donations, grants and supporters to ensure the longevity of Sunshine & Smiles.
Find out more
YouTube – http://bit.do/SunshineYouTube
Facebook – http://bit.do/SunshineFacebook
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sun_smilesleeds
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sunshineandsmilez/
Website – http://www.sunshineandsmiles.org.uk