1. One of many Croydon Champions
I am only just sitting down to write tonight, having been late with William’s TPN and getting him to bed. It was all for an amazing reason though. We spent the evening at the Croydon Champion Awards 2014 where, for the second year running, William was nominated and short-listed for the Child of Courage Award. I think this is an incredibly difficult category to judge. How can you really say who is the most courageous out of three amazing children. I wish they could line them up on the stage, give each a trophy and certificate and say they are this year’s children of courage. All that said, I am so proud to be able to say, in William’s words as I kissed him tonight, I am now the mum to Croydon’s Child of Courage 2014.
William was so very excited and chuffed to win. He beamed and lit up the stage. He was genuinely very surprised to hear his name called out. When we got home he asked why his glass trophy was so dirty with fingermarks and I explained it’s because he cuddled it so much. It is now safely on pride of place on our mantle piece and will be cleaned up tomorrow. William said on the way home that he was dedicating his award to his donor, “she is the bravest child child I have ever known and she has made all this possible.” A big highlight for him was being congratulated by the mayor. He keeps saying he can't believe it. He's been congratulated on Facebook by the MP too so he'll be excited to see that. I think it has given him a huge boost to win this award today and I hope that will help him loads with the fight he has ahead of him.
The evening was amazing, with some incredible and inspirational people nominated and winning the awards. I found it very emotional. I was particularly moved by the winner of the Sporting Champion Award, Chunilal Butra. Chunilal was a bus driver when, ten years ago, he was brutally attacked with a metal bar and left paralysed. He discovered a love and talent for wheelchair bowls and has become a national and world champion. He was in the table in front of us and stopped Wills to shake his hand when he walked past to collect his award.
Wills was chuffed to bits talking to people afterwards and being congratulated. He will remember this special night forever and I know these memories will be recalled when he needs to be reminded how strong and brave and what an amazing fighter he is when things get tough after transplant. He will know that Croydon are behind him, willing him along and waiting to hear how he gets on.
2. Ordinary people with extraordinary destinies
Chunilal Butra’s story, our own and the stories of so many people I have been lucky enough to meet along our journey show that some wonderful opportunities are there lurking in the darkest shadows in our life. We just have to remember they are there and look for them. Shining a light from our hearts and our souls can be a torch to help find them. I saw this C.S. Lewis quote on Facebook today and it seems perfect for this evening;
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny…”
3. Be a light
This is another quote that this evening made me remember;
“Some days you will be the light for others, and some days you will need some light from them. As long as there is light, there is hope, and there is a way.” Jennifer Gayle
I think this is so for many of the people we met tonight. It is definitely so for the wonderful parents and families we meet along our journey. There are times when they are struggling and we need to be strong and a light for them, and then we may have a period when things are hard from us and they are our light. I will come back to this. And I will come back to finish the Kate Bush ‘Before the Dawn’ story with ‘After the Dawn.’ But I am shattered and still a bit emotional after tonight so, for today, I’ll leave it there.