Young Epilepsy Champions Awards 2016

On Wednesday 18th May 2016 I was delighted to present the first award at the Young Epilepsy Champions Awards to celebrate the achievements of those living with epilepsy, their families, carers, teachers and support networks.


As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Epilepsy it is important to recognise those who are tirelessly fighting discrimination, tackling inclusivity and are facing the daily challenges that living with the condition can bring. It was an honour to present the first award at the ceremony, and I would like to congratulate all of the Young Epilepsy Champions nominees and winners for their outstanding contributions to the epilepsy community.


The nominees for Supporting the Community Award are Scott Barclay an advocate for epilepsy awareness, Richie Lannon running the Dubai Marathon for the epilepsy community and Horsham and Southwater Fundraising Team for arranging numerous fundraising events. The winner of the award went to Scott Barclay, an advocate for epilepsy awareness. He has inspired people by sharing his story and campaigning to raise awareness in Scotland. Scott has had epilepsy from the age of 17, he refuses to let epilepsy beat him and now runs his own support group.


The nominees for Best Practice Award are Dr Christian de Goede a Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at Lancashire Teaching, Kirsten McHale the Clinical Nurse Specialist for Epilepsy and Neurodisability for Children and Young People at East Surrey Hospital and the Psychological Medicicine Research Team at UCL. The winner of the award was Kirsten McHale, alongside her role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist Kirsten is actively involved in organising meetings with specialists for peer support and advice, and events for young people with epilepsy to bring them together.


The nominees for Discovery Award are Dr Sophie Bennett a Clinical Psychologist at Great Ormond Street, Dr Amy McTague a Senior Clinical Research Fellow and Paediatric Neurologist at UCL-Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and Epilepsy Passport. And the winner of the award goes to Dr Sophie Bennett for her work improving the mental health and psychological well-being of children with epilepsy and the development of a new way of screening patients to truly understand their psychological needs.


The nominees for My Champion Award are Kate Frodshum a teacher at St Paul’s Primary School, Peter Houghton a carer for his partner and Chris Waddams a carer for his wife. The winner of the award was Kate Frodshum who has made great efforts to support one of her pupils at the school who has focal epilepsy with secondary generalisation. Kate has supported her pupil to become a confident individual who is now catching up with peers academically.


The nominees for Inspirational Young Star Award: 12 years and under are George Charles-Price a confident 7 year old diagnosed with epilepsy in March last year, Holly Lumsden an inspirational 12 year old and Matthew Turnbull a determined young man diagnosed with epilepsy who loves to fundraise and educate others. The winner of the award was Holly Lumsden who continues to challenge herself and educate others about epilepsy. Holly is an inspiration to young people with epilepsy and other long-term conditions.


The nominees for Inspirational Bright Star Award: 13 to 19 years are Annie Barter who volunteers at a local care home for people with dementia, James Bletsoe a talented artist, Hannah Morgan representative for Whizz Kidz and Rachael Lewis a fundraisers for Syrian refugees and causes close to her heart. The winner of the award was James Bletsoe. James’ epilepsy is resistant to medication causing his seizures to worsen. Despite his condition, James has made tremendous effort not to let his condition hinder and is now a talented artist with a secured place at Bridgend College to start a foundation art degree course and next year will be studying at Cardiff University. You can look at James’ artwork on his Instagram account bletsoe_art.


The nominees for Inspirational Shining Star Award: 20-25 years are Susanna Fantoni awarded a scholarship to study media practice at university, Theo McCarthy Budzynski granted a place to study with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Emily Sian Donogue a dedicated advocate for epilepsy awareness. The winner of the award was Emily Sian Donoghue who recently developed into a more complex epilepsy, she has taken a positive outlook and devoted her time to help others in a similar situation. Emily shares her personal experiences through her blog ‘Living Well with Epilepsy’.


The nominees for Bravery Award are Ruby May Barnes, Tiegan and Zander Gill and Anneliese Owens. All three nominees live with a sibling, parent or family member who has epilepsy. They show maturity beyond their years, and put those who suffer from epilepsy before them daily. Their bravery often goes unnoticed and all three were awarded as a Champion.