Top honour for brave Sleaford schoolgirl

Keira Beeson - to receive a national award. EMN-160410-091649001
Keira Beeson - to receive a national award. EMN-160410-091649001

A schoolgirl from Sleaford suffering from a serious bowel condition while raising awareness and funds for others in the same situation is to be honoured at the first British Citizen Youth Awards.

Keira Beeson, 11, was diagnosed with Chrohn’s Disease four years ago and suffers with symptoms including stomach pain, fatigue, blood loss and joint pain.

Despite this, the youngster, who has just started at Kesteven and Sleaford High School, has for two years taken it upon herself to urge more and more schools and businesses to back her Wear Something Purple event to Support World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day.

Now, she will attend the inaugural British Citizen Youth Awards at the Palace of Westminster on October 18 as one of 20 children to receive a bespoke medal from Grammy nominated artist Kimberley Wyatt of Pussycat Dolls fame, the celebrity host.

The awards are designed to recognise the individual endeavours of young people who are positively impacting their communities, helping charities or undertaking exceptional activities in support of others.

Keira will enjoy afternoon tea followed by an open-top lap of honour tour of West London.

In Keira’s letter to businesses and schools for her awareness day, she said: “I refuse to let this disease beat me, and instead of feeling sorry for myself I try to stay positive and focus on the good things in life. I want to show people that there is nothing to be embarrassed about and that people do care.”

Keira’s proud mum Shelley said that after this year’s Purple Day, Keira had to have an operation to remove part of her bowel and wear a stoma pouch.

She received a ‘Buttony Bear’ – given to ill children – which also wore a stoma and has been takeninto school to spread awareness.

Keira was then inspired to sponsor a bear to support another child, selling many of her own cuddly toys to pay for it. She split the money raised from this year’s Purple Day, with some going to Crohns and Colitis UK and some to buy 10 more bears.

Shelley said: “Her last bowel operation did not go well and she developed pneumonia and a collapsed lung, but she was more concerned about a cake sale being organised at Grantham Hospital where I work and so on our way home we dropped in and she helped raise another £200.”

Some of the money was raised by raffling a bear signed and donated by the Red Arrows after Keira wrote to them. Shelley said: “She is one in a million and that kept her strong and focussed.”