Thirteen year old Sasha Burrell was featured in our November 2016 issue for making a winning scarecrow. A year on Sasha makes national news for being acknowledged by WellChild, in association with GSK, for her bravery of living with a health challenge as being ‘the most inspirational young person” in the 11-14 years category of their 2014 award . She received her award from Prince Harry
“Many of the children and young people WellChild support have been dealt the hardest card imaginable in life, and yet their courage inspires the most incredible strength in those around them….” said the Prince in his speech at the ceremony in the Royal Lancaster Hotel on Monday 17 October, “But what everybody has in common is the sense of grace, positivity and good humour that creates a community of support. Knowing that someone is on your side, understands what you are going through, and will carry you through it, is a lifeline that should not be underestimated.”
Sasha, who is in Year 9 at St Clement Danes, became severely ill in 2016 when an infection that she contracted triggered Sepsis.
She had both legs amputated below the knee and now wears prosthetic lower limbs and, thanks to an NHS initiative, also has ‘activity blades’ . Sasha amazed consultant Mo Akindolie with her courage and attitude – back at school was positive and enthusiastic, taking up trampolining which she now excels at. (It was Akindolie who nominated her for the award)
Sasha was happy to be able to meet Prince Harry at the WellChild Awards
“He asked me what I like doing and what it was like in hospital When I said I enjoyed the hospital food, especially the green peas – he said that wasn’t normal! He told me always go for blades…especially if they are free! There were lots of famous people at the dinner – Gaby Roslin, Ashley Banjo from Diversity, Dick and Dom, actors from Holby City and Olympic hockey player Sam Quek. Next to Prince Harry the music was the best bit .. I really enjoyed Stormzy‘s band. It was all fun. The next day I was on ITV news which was exciting.”
Sasha’s family are constantly fundraising to increase awareness of Sepsis. In September her aunt Lisa and husband Peter raised £700 cycling 54 miles in the London to Brighton bike ride. “The symptoms are much like flu” says dad Andy, “The immune system goes into overdrive and damages its own tissues and organs but it’s curable if it’s caught quickly.”
“Sasha’s strain was pneumococcal and not meningitis” adds Mum Claire., “It can have so many routes. Sasha has had a hard time but is always positive and giggles a lot. We are all very proud of her, especially as she won an award when hundreds were nominated!”