Winners: Austin and Freddie Winstanley
Austin is an identical twin to Freddie born 15 weeks premature, both had only a 1% chance of survival. At just 5 weeks old weighing 2lb, Austin had his 1st brain surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Now 7 years of age, Austin has had 6 emergency, life threatening brain surgeries and an emergency hernia operation. Austin lives with a VP shunt in situ due to hydrocephalus and has had life-changing surgery known as SDR. As Austin has Cerebral Palsy, he underwent the pioneering SDR procedure, where the nerves in the back are ‘re-wired’, to help remove the spasticity in his muscles, giving him the biggest chance of independent walking, as possible. In Austin’s early years, his parents were told to expect that he would not walk, talk or have any chance of independent living. Fast forward to today after years of intensive physiotherapy, coupled with Austin’s sheer determination and continuous smile, he attends mainstream school with Freddie and although he is not fully walking independently, he no longer uses his wheelchair. Each day he achieves more and more independence. Against all the odds he is now reading and writing. We are proud to say Austin and Freddie have represented Great Ormond Street and Marks and Spencer’s in both inclusion campaigns and advertisements. Austin and Freddie are hard in training for the Marvel Superhero Series, the UK’s only disability sports series for the everyday superhero, in which Austin and Freddie will together complete a 2.5k walk, followed by a 2.5k trike ride around Dorney Lake.
Highly Commended: Isabelle and Emily Clarke
Isabelle and Emily were Highly Commended last year with their father Lee for fundraising. Well it’s gratifying to see that they are keeping the good work up! This year their dad nominated them … here’s what he said ‘The girls on a very cold December night spent 27 hours sleeping rough to raise money for 4 charities. They also completed 120 miles cycle ride to raise more money, they baked cakes to put some smiles on the faces of our neighbours. Last Saturday they completed a sponsored silence for the whole day and during lockdown they just kept thinking of ideas to fund raise, as they wanted to help so many more people. Every day the girls amaze me, and inspire me to do more as a fundraiser. They have raised over £30,000 for many different charities, and in the past 2 months they have raised around £4,000. What amazes me is they take it all in their stride’.
Highly Commended: Luca Latifi
Luca’s older brother was tragically killed at school by a falling locker in 2019. In the two years since, Luca has been the rock that holds the family together. He attends the same school as his older brother did, which must be hard in itself. He's so well behaved, he may have struggled at school because of time off, but he's working very hard at his home schooling to catch up. He was sadly at his swimming lesson when this awful accident happened. He amazes everyone how he has managed to survive with such a shocking tragedy in his life. He's a cheeky little boy, full off love, and he will never know how much he's held the community together …. he keeps his brothers legacy alive.
Highly Commended: Oscar Daniels
Oscar was born with challenging health situations including Cerebral Palsy. Sadly over the last year his health has deteriorated which has led to many planned and unplanned hospital admissions. He has had many medical procedures, surgeries, medications and finding a balance of pain relief to keep him comfortable, as he is moved to the palliative care team. Oscar attends South View School in Witham for a few hours each week and the Braintree ‘Parc special play centre’.
He absolutely adores younger brother Jack, loves
his days out to the farm,
his music and Harry Potter! His Nominator Charlotte Potter wrote “If I could give Oscar and his family anything it would be time...time for them to celebrate their son being an absolute credit to them, inspiring so many others in the world for being bold, brave and most of all being himself because that's what life is all about. Oscar truly deserves an award”.
Highly Commended: Sonny Lee Cook
Sonny was born with 5 different congenital heart diseases. He lives with only half a functioning heart. His family were told that he could never live a normal life. He has endured 9 surgeries, 2 cardiac arrests, and a cardiac tamponade.
His Family says, even though his life revolves around hospitals and surgeries, he never
stops smiling, he is the heart of the town, and shows the world how to love life. He walks, talks and even attends a main stream school. Unfortunately he has had to be shielded from the real world
since the pandemic began in 2019. In 2021 he had two more surgeries and is now going in for his biggest yet. The recovery time is unknown. His Mother Danell Dreelan said ‘He is the inspiration to
get up every morning, and has taught me what selfless really means’.