Watch: Leeds teen wins ‘inspirational’ Wellchild award for her courage in coping with rare disease

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A teenager from Leeds has been honoured for her courage in coping with a rare disease.

Shelby Lynch won the Inspirational Child category At the national WellChild Awards in London and was named Inspirational Young Person 16+ (female), sponsored by St James’s Place.

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The 17-year-old, from Oakwood, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, was picked from hundreds of nominations from across the UK.

Shelby was nominated by her carer, Eve Malam. She needs 24-hour ventilation meaning she is reliant on care around the clock for her condition.

In addition, she has a condition called scoliosis and uses a wheelchair for mobility.

The star studded ceremony on Monday included guests such as Prince Harry who said: “I would like to congratulate each of the Award Winners – your stories are moving beyond words and remind us all of just how fantastic you all are. You are an example to us all – we can learn a great deal from your strength of character, resolve and humour in facing down challenges every day.”

She had a private reception with charity’s Royal Patron, Prince Harry before the beginning of the event.

Shelby is determined to live out her dream as a film director, completing some work experience in the sector and editing a short film, for which she received a silver prize in the Golden Owl Awards with her friends.

Judges said: “Despite her degenerating condition, she strives to live as full a life as possible, taking part in typical teenage life alongside her peers.”

Her carer Eve Malam said: “Nothing in her life ever seems to burst her bubbly personality, and from this I take great motivation. Being a teenager isn’t easy. Being a teenager with SMA and facing the challenges in the way that Shelby does every day is an incredibly inspiring feat. Shelby’s dreams and aspirations encourage others to aim high.

“Her energy and charm never fail to spark happiness and inspiration in those who surround her, and for that I believe she deserves recognition.”

Also honoured at the prestigious star–studded ceremony run by WellChild – the national charity for sick children – were dedicated doctors, nurses, volunteers, brothers and sisters who have gone the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of seriously ill children, young people and their families.

WellChild’s Director of Programmes, Linda Partridge, said: “It is a tremendous challenge to select winners from the many, many truly amazing nominations we receive from all over the country. Shelby truly deserves to be the winner of this award.”

She travelled to London with mum and dad Nigel and Dawn. Nigel said: “We had an amazing time and were delighted to be sitting with comedian Russell Howard, who presented her award. He is a great guy. He invited us back down to London to see his shows.”

WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children and is committed to ensuring that every child in the UK, no matter what their situation, location or diagnosis, has the very best possible quality of care. There are thousands of children and young people in the UK living with a serious or complex health condition. It funds important and ground-breaking research aimed at improving treatment and care for children and young people. Nurses can be provided at home instead of hospital stays.

More details at www.wellchild.org.uk.