On Thursday 26th March 2015, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Young Epilepsy Champion Awards at the London City Hall to represent Living Well With Epilepsy. I write monthly columns for Living Well with Epilepsy and it was an honor to attend the awards on behalf of the founder, Jessica K Smith.
Young Epilepsy Awards
For those of you who may not know, especially if you’re not in England, Young Epilepsy is the national charity working exclusively on behalf of children and young people with Epilepsy. Young Epilepsy is a leading provider of specialist health and education services. It was a glittering evening attended by finalists, sponsors, supporters and celebrities to celebrate the Champions of 2015.
This was the third annual Champions award, which fell on Purple Day; it was an uplifting evening celebrating the achievements of the Champions and nominees. It was a chance to come together and hear their inspiring stories. The ceremony was hosted by newsreader Nicholas Owen, and other celebrities included Olympian James Cracknell, Eastenders actors Cheryl Fergison and Himesh Patel, athlete Dai Greene and footballer Leon Legge. After the main event I got chance to go around and talk to a few people, and I met a lovely couple who’s father invented an alarm for their Son so he is at less risk of SUDEP.
Here are the awards from the night:
The first award for Supporting the Community, presented by Leon Legge, went to Zoe Reid – for her commitment to supporting young people with epilepsy in Edinburgh.
“Once again the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards has celebrated some amazing champions who are creating better futures for young lives with epilepsy across the UK. It is an honour to attend and be an ambassador of this fantastic charity.” – Leon Legge
Award for Best Practice sponsored and presented by ‘Alert-it’ went to Tessa Walker – for always going the extra mile to support children families affected by epilepsy.
Award for Community Impact presented by Sir Gerald Archer – recognizing an outstanding group or company which has made a significant and lasting impact on the lives of the young people who attend St Piers School and College went to Santander Consumer Finance – for the projects they have completed to enhance the Young Epilepsy campus.
The next award for Discovery – which celebrates individuals or teams who have led research that has driven new thinking or practice to make a significant difference to individual lives of young people with epilepsy, presented by Eisai went to Dr. Sameer Zuberi – for his outstanding contribution to genetic research in epilepsy.
The Shaping Better Futures award which celebrates the achievement of those who lobby or campaign on behalf of young people and children with epilepsy and has championed reforms that make a difference, was presented by Jean Rigby and sponsored by Withy King, went to Epilepsy12 – Dr Colin Dunkley & Calvin Down!
The award for speaking out went to The Daily Mirror. The Speaking Out award recognizes an organization or individual making a significant contribution to raising awareness of epilepsy. It was presented by Nicole, Ronson and Allalouf. Well done!
We then had an award for Guiding Light, sponsored by Next PLC – his celebrates those special people who go the extra mile to support and inspire someone with epilepsy. Our guiding lights are the grownups who shape young lives. This award went to Ann-Marnie Row – for being the superhero teacher for Toby and making his school the best place to be!
We then had a very emotional award of the My Champion, this celebrates those special people who go the extra mile to support and inspire someone with epilepsy. My champions are the special friends who inspire young lives. The award was presented to Tre Pearce – for being a tower of strength and sacrificing his own life to support his partner and baby daughter.
Cheryl Fergison, presenting that award, said, “It’s a huge pleasure to celebrate the people who are making such a difference and improving the lives of those living with epilepsy. It is such an inspiring evening hearing all the finalists and nominees stories and an absolute honour to present an award one of them.”
The Bravery award went to a little someone who did a very brave thing that saved her Mothers life. Presenting the special award for bravery to one young lady who represents many young children living with and caring for a parent or family member with epilepsy, James Cracknell presented Sienna Alderley, age 5, the award for going above and beyond to save her Mother’s life and bravely calling 999 whilst she was having a seizure.
“I’m thrilled to be back at the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards this year to cheer on the Champions once again. Everyone in the audience are working tirelessly to change children and young people’s lives that are affected by epilepsy. I salute them and everything they are doing.” – James Cracknell
Bright Star award celebrates someone with epilepsy aged 17 and under who is an inspiration to their family and those around them because of the obstacles they have overcome. This award was presented by Himesh Patel to Ben Wilson for demonstrating bravery and courage, sponsored by Home from Home Care.
The Shining Star Award celebrates someone with epilepsy aged between 18 and 25 who is an inspiration to their family and those around them because of the obstacles they have overcome. Oliver Lewis presented Alyce-Jayne Stockdale this award, sponsored by River Island – for not letting her seizures get in the way of her life.
The last award of the night, before the after party, was the Inspirational Champion Award – this celebrates the achievements of a young person with epilepsy, aged 25 or under, who is truly inspirational and whose efforts have had a wide reaching impact. Presented by Dai Greene, the award went to Owen Thurston – for his commitment to raising awareness of epilepsy and funds to make life better for others.
“It was an absolute honour to be a part of the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards. The stories I have heard tonight have really touched and inspired me, congratulations and thank you to everyone out there working tirelessly for young people and children with epilepsy.” – Dai Greene
Well done to each and every one of you, and thank you so much for an incredible, emotional event. You’re all champions in my eyes.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”