CALA’s #Openingdoors graduate wins award

Congratulations to #Openingdooors graduate Shona Beveridge for winning the HTSI 2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year award!

Shona continues to volunteer at our out of school clubs alongside volunteering at her local Rainbows and as speaker and influencer for the Niemann-Pick UK Charity.

Shona is passionate about volunteering, especially for the Niemann-Pick UK charity. Last year Shona spoke at the 2018 conference where she shared her story of her own diagnosis of Niemann-Pick Type C.

At the age of 15 Shona was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C. This is a rare genetic condition that effects 1 in 110,000 people and which there is no current treatment or cure. Shona has courageously taken part in a medical trial for treatment which saw her travelling to Birmingham every fortnight for a spinal injection. However, this didn’t stop Shona completing her education at Millburn Academy, volunteering or achieving her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award last summer!

Shona doesn’t see her condition as a disadvantage, she sees it as an opportunity. “If I didn’t have Niemann-Pick Type C I wouldn’t have been able to take part in the Rickshaw Challenge”. The 2017 Rickshaw Challenge saw Shona and the team cycle 500 miles and raise over £5,000,000 for Children In Need! 

Despite all of these incredible achievements Shona faces daily challenges as her mobility changes but she doesn’t let this stop her. When asked recently what she felt she was gaining by volunteering Shona said, “Volunteering has helped me grow in confidence, I’ve learned new things, met lots of new people, it’s made me feel useful and part of the community. I really love helping the children with their arts and crafts activities and organising games for them”. “Taking part in #Openingdoors helped me grow in confidence and I have built great relationships with all the children when I volunteer at the Out of School Club. Meeting regularly with Kirsty (Mentoring Support Officer) helped me to gain more skills and keep me on track! I have also completed online courses through CALA in Child Protection and Risk Assessment”.

We are all incredibly proud of Shona here at CALA and we are sure you will agree that she is truly an inspiration.

Click on the slides below to see a small glimpse of the celebrations at the event.

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