Long time no post! I'm aware that the last 18 months things have been relatively quiet from me - I began Sixth Form meaning that unfortunately Cards for Bravery had to be put aside slightly so I could focus on my studies. Things have still been going along behind the scenes however just not as much as as they were before... both mainstream school and doing A Level's takes a large amount of energy from someone who has very little of it!
At the end of this school year I am taking a gap year, one of the main reasons being to broaden Cards for Bravery along with hoping to partake in other activities I am interested in such as advocacy/public speaking, voluntary & charity work etc within topics I am passionate about - so watch out for what will be happening this year and beyond!
A bit of an overall update on what has been happening whilst I've been gone:
Find below a slideshow of pictures from the Indie Awards:
Some of you may or may not know that I was one of the 10 finalists for the BBC Radio 1 Teen Hero Awards for my Cards for Bravery work. It is absolutely amazing to be recognised in this kind of way, and I got to experience some amazing things due to it!
On the 18th October I got the opportunity to visit Kensington Palace to meet Prince William and Harry, as well as Rita Ora and some Radio 1 Presenters such as Nick Grimshaw, Clara Amfo, and more. It was an incredible day, truly a once in a lifetime experience that I'll never forget. Both Prince William and Harry were so nice and truly interested in all of the finalists stories who were all equally incredible people.
I feel honoured to have been included within such an amazing group of teens , all who have gone through incredibly tough experiences but have made such a difference and fight the odds everyday.
After visiting Kensington, we received a personal tour of the Radio 1 Studios. We got to visit the Live Lounge (which is surprisingly small compared to the images and videos you see!) and Greg James studio; seeing all the equipment, how they worked the radio with switching songs etc - it was super cool!
It was such an amazing day... but it doesn't stop there.
On the 22nd October I also got to attend the Radio 1 Teen Awards as a VIP Guest.
It was a great day: seeing some of my favourite artists preform, watching the awards and seeing the 3 Teen Hero Winners collect their award on the Wembley Arena stage.
I'm incredibly grateful to have been able to receive this experience and I cannot thank everyone at Radio 1 enough.
This has motivated me to work on my Cards for Bravery even harder, as the video below states; "it's only the beginning!"
Here are some videos, pictures and articles all about the Teen Heroes Awards, the experience and the finalists stories:
The Teen Hero Finalists Stories:
My story and about being a Teen Hero in the newspaper:
Back in January we distributed our second Bravery Package to a very inspirational and strong girl called Chloe.
Chloe is 18 years old and extremely brave. She is fights several chronic illnesses including severe Myalgic Encephalitis, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Gastroparesis, severe seizures & allergic reactions and more. She spent over 10 months in hospital and has had a very hard time, so we thought she deserved something to cheer her up!
This is what Chloe said about her bravery package:
"I can't thank you enough for the package. Seriously, it was full of the most meaningful, beautiful and thoughtful things!! Every single item meant something. I have the quote in my new room (it fits in perfectly with the decor!!) the pandora symbolism made me cry. A lot of money, time and effort went in to it. It's such a selfless, lovely, incredible thing to do".
Chloe finally managed to come home from hospital however she continues to face very hard daily battles, regular hospital admissions, appointments, and a lot more. Despite all of this, Chloe continues to fight on with a smile, is always being so kind to others and putting them before herself.
You can follow her journey via her Instagram:
And her Facebook Page:
"Chloe's Chronicals of Chronic Illness - My HPV Vaccine Injury Journey"
Bravery Packages is a new programme that we have set up, where we distribute 'care packages' to anyone of the age 2-21 that suffers from a chronic, serious or life-altering illness. We distribute packages to very brave kids/teens that we believe deserve a very special surprise. They receive a box full of goodies personalised to what they are interested in and would enjoy receiving, as well as a personalised Bravery Card, to help brighten their day as well as put a smile on their face and provide them with gifts to keep them occupied whilst unwell/in hospital/receiving treatment and more.
The very first child who received a Bravery Package was 10 year old Poppy and her sister Coral. Poppy is a very inspirational 10 year old who has gone through way too much for someone her age. She fights Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Chronic Intestinal Psuedo Obstruction, Epilepsy and more serious chronic illnesses. In September 2014, Poppy received the gift of life and had a multi-visceral transplant. Sadly in the last few months Poppy has become very poorly again, having spent about 8 weeks in hospital over the summer holidays including numerous stays in ICU.
Poppy and her sister are very, very brave and inspirational. A few weeks ago, I put together a Bravery Package for them and it certainly made their day! You can see pictures of Poppy and her sister opening their Bravery Package below. You can also follow Poppy and her story on 'Poppy - Our Little Fighter' on Facebook.
We are delighted to announce that we now have a creative partnership with the amazing charity Share a Star, to help brighten the days of even more seriously ill children and teens and their siblings.
Share a Star is a charity that provides a positive message of hope to seriously ill children and teens by making a unique holding star. Each star is handmade, and completely tailored to the child's favourite things. Along with the stars, they also provide special gifts, cards and more to help support seriously ill youngsters and bring a much needed smile to their face. Jessica, the founder of Share a Star, is currently supporting over 200 families across the UK, whilst being seriously ill herself. Jessica is a massive inspiration and we are delighted to be working with such an amazing person and charity!
Katie and Jessica will be working together to create a very unique project. More details will be released soon, however we are currently racking our brains to come up with the plan for a very special project! For now, we have sent Share a Star a total of 50 cards to distribute to their seriously ill youngsters. You can see a picture of Jessica with the cards below!
To find out more about Share a Star, please visit their website: www.shareastar,org
and follow them on their social media pages:
Facebook Page: 'Share a Star'
This week, 26th September - 30th September, is National Play in Hospital Week!️
Play in Hospital Week aims to bring a focus to the work Play Specialists do, and show the importance of play for children in hospital all around the UK!
Play is proven to provide distraction and to help children cope throughout their hospital stay.
I know myself how important it is to have Play specialists in Hospital. When I am in Hospital, play specialists can help distract me from what is going on health-wise and can provide a load of different fun activities. The Royal London Hospital have a fantastic Play Department with great play specialists and facilities. This includes 'Project Play' - a group of medical students that organise arts & craft activities, teen clubs, game nights, and more, several times a week.
The Play Specialists also run an Adolescent Night once a week, the annual black & white adolescent party, magicians for the younger kids, pet therapy dog visits, and also organise so many more activities to help provide children with the distraction they need.
National Play in Hospital Week is organised by the "National Association of Health Play Specialists"(NAPHS), a charity that promotes the importance of physical and mental wellbeing for children who are patients in Hospital, hospice, and/or receiving medical care at home, through the power of Play. National Play in a Hospital Week is also supported by the amazing charity Starlight Children's Foundation, who grant wishes for seriously ill kids, for the 6th year in a row - helping NAPHS celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of Play and activity in children and young people.
I was lucky enough to attend this years Annual Play Specialist Conference, also organised by NAPHS, to speak about Cards for Bravery and my personal experience with Play Specialists. NAPHS are a fantastic charity who do great things for unwell children and teens.
If you wish to read more about National Play in Hospital Week and/or donate to Barts Health Charity to help support a child with the power of play, click the link here:
If you wish to read more about National Association of Health Play Specialists the link to there website is here:
First of all, apologies for not writing a post in the last month.
Although I haven't been very active on social media I promise I've been working on some exciting things in the background!
As you can see below, I've posted some pictures of my time at the NAPHS Annual Play Specialist Conference I attended on the 17th June at UCLH.
I had an amazing time and everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
My presentation on 'Cards for Bravery and my experience in hospitals with play specialists' went really well and I've already had quite a few hospitals contacting me as they're interested in getting involved! I had a really good day overall and it was a fantastic experience.
We did film the whole presentation, but sadly for some reason my phone didn't record it, so I only have a recording of the ending of the presentation when people were asking questions. I might post that at a later date but am not sure yet.
Also, we now have a PO Box!
This is where everyone will now be able to send the cards they create to us. The PO Box will be up on our website, under the 'About Making Cards' section.
The address is:
Cards for Bravery
PO Box 12380
So, if you're going to be creating cards or have any other donations/post/etc to send to us.. Please use that address!
Last of all, I'm in the midst of preparing to send out our first ever Bravery Package out!
Bravery Packages is something else we are setting up where we choose a chronically, seriously or terminally ill kid from the ages 2-18 that deserve a very big surprise. A Bravery Package will of course include a Bravery Card as well as gifts that interest the child or teen, to help brighten up their day and bring a smile to their face!
I'm very excited to be starting this programme.
I hope you are all okay and thank you for the continued support, keep the cards coming!😊💞
Exciting news! Been keeping this as a secret from most people the last couple months so it can come as a surprise - but I've been working with Shout Magazine the last few months as they have run an article about Cards for Bravery in their October issue, which is super exciting! You can find Shout Magazine in most newsagents around England, so if you pick up a copy we would to see pictures, you can share them on our Facebook Page, 'Cards for Bravery',Instagram and/or Twitter - both of which are @cardsforbravery!
Thank you all so much for your fantastic support, and remember to keep the cards coming in!☺️💞
We have a new logo for Cards for Bravery, which you can see above!!
We also have a fab new Graphic Designer, Karise! She's only 15, but very talented(as you can tell from her logo she created for us) and we're very happy to have her as our graphic designer :)