The third annual Children of Courage awards ceremony by the two Sleaford Rotary Clubs took place on Tuesday at the Masonic Rooms.
Eight young nominees received awards from Mayor of Sleaford, David Suiter and North Kesteven District Council chairman, John Money.
The awards are presented to under 18s, nominated by schools, who have shown outstanding courage and fortitude in overcoming mental or physical impairments, family situations or other challenges.
Rotarian Alan Thomas, President of the Rotary Club of Sleaford, said: “The two Rotary Clubs feel very privileged to have organised an event that was able to honour eight worthy and courageous young people who have faced so many challenges in their short lives but still remain smiling through. They are truly an inspiration to us all.”
○ Ethan Kelly-Hall, 15, of St George’s Academy, Ruskington, was born with a mild form of spina bifida and has limited movement in his right foot. Since 2013 he has faced several major operations because his spinal cord was untethering. Ethan also required surgery on a broken foot and will soon have knee surgery.
Persistent pain impacted on schoolwork and self-esteem, but he is keen find a career that will help other young people like himself.
○ Kate Parr, 16, attends St George’s Academy in Ruskington and has Miserable Mal Alignment Syndrome in both legs as well as lacking grooves to hold her knee caps in position. The bones above and below her knees are twisted.
Three years ago Kate dislocated, tore ligaments and fractured her right knee requiring surgery to break and straighten her legs and pin a metal frame to the bone. Another operation turned the foot forwards but she needed more surgery when it did not heal. Kate will endure it all again on her left leg, while not letting it interfere with school work.
○ Amba Smith joined the Pilgrim School in Sleaford last July having been under the care of Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for 11 years.
In her commendation from the school it states: “She has a range of medical conditions requiring specialist support and has enough prescribed medication to make any adult rattle. To date she has been anaesthetised approximately 70 times and is subject to ongoing investigations to identify some of her symptoms.”
She has intense pain and sometimes struggles to walk, leading to anxiety and low confidence. At secondary school her health deteriorated and she rarely left home. Since being referred she has blossomed and is keen to work in child care or catering.
○ Kesteven and Sleaford High School student Victoria Lyon suffered a serious brain injury after a road collision in November 2015. She has made an astounding recovery, determined to compete again after previously being National Indoor Rowing Champion.
She is coping being back at school, meeting challenges head on with a smile, described as an inspiration to everyone with her courage.
○ Keira Beeson, another High School student, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis aged seven and despite severe pain and many operations, including having an ileostomy, she has always remained cheerful, says the school. She has raised a large amount of money for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colitis UK as well as raising awareness in schools.
○ Lauren Smith of St George’s has cerebral palsy (Spastic Diplegia) which affected her balance and can make her tired, but she has worked hard and plays Boccia representing the school.
○ St George’s year eight student Thomas Talbot also has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, needing a walker or wheelchair but is a keen sportsman doing race running and frame football. Major surgery on his hip will interrupt his training.
○ Kerry Brothwell returned to St George’s Academy in Sleaford this year after a back operation, but has unexplained ‘episodes’ where she passes out. The school says: “She faces a very unsure future where she may not be able to live alone, drive, go out without anyone with her, but she is still smiling.”