Young Hero Award
Last year the charity introduced their Young Hero Award, the John Child Shield. Named after one of the charity’s trustees and former chair, the trophy is presented annually to a child or young person (upto 25 years old) with a disability or the sibling of a child/young person with a disability. Parents/carers, friends and professionals were invited to nominate children and young people whom they believed were Young Heroes and the charity received dozens of entries.
Congratulations go to Iris, who became the 2023 recipient of the John Child Shield and the second Aiming Higher Young Hero.
John Child MBE said “There were so many inspirational nominees it was very difficult to choose just one winner but Iris’ story really moved us, as she helps care for her mum as well as her younger brother. We are delighted she is this year’s recipient”.
Iris was nominated by her mum Danielle who wrote: “ Iris is an incredible young lady. In 2013 I was diagnosed with a rare condition making my bones dislocate weekly. As Iris has got older and time has gone by, my bones now dislocate multiple times a day. Iris is the most caring and helpful little girl in the world, she hugs me gently, she gets me heat packs and calls her stepdad or grandad when I need help.
Recently Iris’ little brother Finn (aged 3) was diagnosed with autism and he has the cognitive ability of a 1 year old. Iris is so incredible with him; she is the most understanding young lady I know. She protects her brother, she tries to teach him, she never gets upset or shouts at him, she is patient with him. She does everything he wants to do even if it means she has to sacrifice her own wants and things. She is eternally loyal to him and regularly stands up for him in public. She helped make his communication boards as he is non-verbal and has even learned some sign language to be able to communicate with him. She is his number one fan who is ALWAYS there to cheer him on when he tries a new food or makes a new sound. Finn is her hero, but she is ours without a doubt. If this ever gets read to her I want her to know how incredibly loved she is and that she is a hero in our eyes even if not in everyone else’s.”
Aiming Higher staff were delighted to give the family the news that she’s a hero in their eyes too, surprising them with the news while they were on a family day out.
10 year old Iris didn’t know her mum had nominated her and said “When I got the news I was astounded that I had won this award I didn’t even know my mum had entered me, I had no idea it was even a thing, but I am incredibly honoured to be chosen. Having an autistic brother is hard sometimes, but he will always find a way to make me smile, whether it’s screaming at the top of his lungs, or giggling at me tickling him, I can’t go a day without smiling at his adorable little face.”
Her dad stated “Iris is such a kind, caring and helpful girl, and is always the first to help someone, right from a very young age she has always gravitated towards younger children and especially children with special needs. She is amazing, and I am incredibly proud of her, she deserves this recognition so much.”
Her Mum and step dad were equally as proud: “ we are so incredibly proud of our wonderful daughter, there isn’t a day goes by that we don’t get to see her beautiful heart through her actions, she deserves every inch of praise!”