On Wednesday 18th May 2016 the Young Epilepsy team took over The UnderGlobe, London for a glittering evening of laughter, celebration and inspiration. For the second year running myself and Chris were invited, myself as a blogger and Chris as he had been shortlisted for the ‘My Champion’ Award. As ever what a night it was, if anyone knows how to do awards ceremonies its Young Epilepsy! The Young Epilepsy Champions Awards is now in its fourth year and it brought with it some changes. The awards which had previously been held on Purple Day had now been moved to Epilepsy Awareness week, and there was also a new venue for 2016. News Presenter Nicholas Owen hosted the ceremony, other celebrities included Gogglebox’s Steph and Dom Parker, Actress Kerry Howard, Miss United Kingdom Mhairi Fergusson, S Club Junior’s star Stacey McClean and Actor Nathaniel Parker.
Firstly the Venue…WOW! They really had gone all out, the soft purple lighting really set the scene, the candle lit tables giving the venue atmosphere, it was incredible. One of the things that struck me the most was the chatter as soon as you walked in, everyone was smiling and everyone was having a mingle, it was a really relaxed atmosphere given the grand venue. Another change this year was that we sat down at tables for the actual awards ceremony, I think this worked really well and gave people the chance to really have a chat rather than just being sat in rows and next to the people they came with. It also meant I got a chance to talk to the family behind us (more on them later). On our table I was sat next to Ed and his colleagues from Santander who had been part of the team helping to transform the Young Epilepsy campus in Lingfield providing outside spaces for young people with complex epilepsy to enjoy! He was very helpful during the ceremony and totally understanding of my note taking and fidgeting about to get photos! My friend popped over to say hello and said ‘oh look whos sat with you!’ I looked a bit vague thinking how does she know the guys from Santander? But nope we were sat with Steph and Dom from Goggle Box. Now I have to confess I do not watch it and had no idea who they were (sorry!) but they were both very lovely, and Steph got choked up presenting the Bravery Award. My Mother and Sister in Law were gutted they didn’t get a chance to get a photo before they left! However we did manage to get photos with Stacey from S Club Juniors (who Hannah has loved since she was a little girl) Nicholas Owen who presented the awards and Miss UK 2016, all of whom were lovely. Stacey had done some radio work with Alex in the week and told me how much her story had touched her.
Sat on the table behind us were winners Tiegan and Xander Gill with their younger sister and Mum and Dad. They were a beautiful family, the kids were super cute and well behaved. When they were announcing the winners in their category Xander was sat with his fingers crossed, I have never wanted someone to win something so badly! Their Mum had been suffering 5 or 6 seizures a day since their younger sister was born and both of the children had taken this in their stride. Thank you to their Mum for taking a few minutes to talk to me too, I know I was full of questions and probably not making much sense! In the bravery award we also heard about Ruby who stopped her baby brothers push chair rolling into rush hour traffic when her Mum Ellen suffered a seizure, whilst also reassuring her Mum and phoning her Grandmother to let her know what had happened, not one person stopped to help them!!! Once we had heard all of this I did have a panic and turn to Chris and say what am I doing to Noah I don’t want to put him through all of this, but as he pointed out all of the kids were amazing and just took it in their stride because it was their normal. They were all amazing kids and a total credit to their parents. I had a quick chat to Emily who I take part in the Epilepsy Blog Relay with, she deservedly won an award. I also had a chance to catch up with some Young Epilepsy staff. Shannon from Young Epilepsy who I first met at the awards last year, she is so lovely and works really hard, I know she had a late night making sure the press releases were all put together in time :-) Also Joe who did all the filming for the awards. It was so nice to see all of his hard work paying off, he did a brilliant job.
Ok so Chris didn’t win but we both did say he lost out to a very worthy winner, but as ever award or no award he is my champion and he always will be. I can’t add to what I have said before and I can’t add anything to what I said in my VT about how amazing he is. (I will have the VT shortly to share with you all.) But once again Thank you and I love you so much.
I made the fatal mistake of forgetting tissues this year (seriously guys next year you need to put them on the tables!) I was crying from start to finish. All very worthy winners and inspirational stories. Thank You Young Epilepsy for a fabulous evening.
To view more of my photos from the night click here: https://www.facebook.com/faye.chambers.7/media_set?set=a.10153481895857027.1073741950.513002026&type=3&pnref=story
A full list of the Winners:
Supporting the Community- this award celebrated the achievements of someone who is working to support the wider epilepsy community by fundraising, providing resources or a support network for families.
Scott Barclay – for campaigning on behalf of the epilepsy community and refusing to let his epilepsy beat him.
Best Practice – This award celebrates health, education or social care professionals who have encouraged people to work together in innovative ways, to make a real difference and drive positive change to the lives of young people with epilepsy.
Kirsten McHale – for always going the extra mile to support children families affected by epilepsy and being devoted to educating those who encounter it.
Discovery – This award celebrates research or breakthroughs that have led to new thinking or practice and makes a difference to individual lives of young people with epilepsy. Please give us examples where possible.
Dr Sophie Bennett – for improving the mental health and psychological well being of children with epilepsy.
My Champion – This award celebrates those who have gone over and above to support someone with epilepsy. This special person could be a carer, a parent, a teacher or someone in education who has inspired a young life.
Kate Frodsham – for being a supportive teacher to Daniel and giving him the confidence to succeed in school.
Bravery- sponsored by River Island – this award celebrates children who have shown bravery in the face of the challenged life has thrown at them. Epilepsy doesn’t just affect the person with the condition; it can have a significant impact across the family.
Ruby May Barnes – for saving her baby brother’s life when her mum had a seizure on a busy road.
Tiegan and Xander Gill – for taking their mother’s epilepsy in their stride.
Anneliese Owens – for always being a brave and caring sister to her twin Samuel who lives with epilepsy.
Inspirational Young Star – celebrates someone with epilepsy aged 12 and under who is an inspiration to their family and those around them because of the obstacles they have overcome.
Holly Lumsden – for always having a positive outlook on life and not letting her condition be a barrier.
Inspirational Bright Star – celebrates someone with epilepsy aged between 13 and 19 who is an inspiration to their family and those around them because of the obstacles they have overcome.
James Bletsoe – for achieving his dreams and not letting his condition get in the way.
Inspirational Shining Star – celebrates the achievements of a young person with epilepsy, aged between 20 and 25r, who is truly inspirational and whose efforts have had a wide reaching impact.
Emily Donoghue – for her commitment to raising awareness of her condition through writing about her experience and inspiring others.
My names Faye, mostly known for being a tea addict and keen runner. I'm 31, married and I had my 1st child in June 2015, oh and I also happen to have epilepsy. This is my story of Pregnancy, Motherhood & Epilepsy.