Today we are pleased to announce that seven-year-old Emily Donn from Renfrewshire as a winner of a Young Achiever Award. Emily’s story is captured below by journalist and TV Presenter Catriona Shearer.
Emily Donn loves anything to do with spies and secret missions, but this seven-year-old secret agent from Renfrewshire didn’t deduce she’d been nominated for a Scottish Children’s Health Award – so was surprised and delighted to learn she’d won a Young Achiever accolade.
Emily has had many health challenges since she was born and has been taking different daily medications throughout her life. She’s had numerous hospital stays, tests, scans, X-rays, blood tests and theatre visits over the years and has tried a variety of different treatments; some of which have been quite invasive and traumatic.
The symptoms this Lochwinnoch youngster has experienced throughout her childhood have had a significant impact on her – not just physically, but also socially and emotionally. She’s missed time in school and sometimes hasn’t felt well enough to join her friends to play.
Despite these medical obstacles, Emily is continuing to flourish thanks to Teri (Theresa Wright) who nominated her. The two have become firm friends with Teri preparing Emily for operations and procedures through play, chat, and support. Emily’s mum Julie recognises the importance of her daughter having someone outside the family able to support Emily when required: “Teri and everyone in the play team have transformed Emily’s hospital journey in a way we never could have dreamed was possible. I have no doubt she’s achieved more and experienced less trauma as a result of this support from the most magical people in the hospital…as her parent I know I won’t always be the right person to talk to her about things…but knowing that Emily has both the relationship with Teri and the safe space at the teddy hospital to chat through things and explore how she is feeling is a massive comfort to us both.”
Emily loves the beach and one of her favourite things to do is splash in the sea – whatever the weather. She’s determined to take a dip even when it’s winter, and this determination (and bravery!) shines through in her attitude.
The judges of the Scottish Children’s Health Awards were particularly impressed by Emily’s bravery, strength and determination. She has produced a book – with her mum – to help her cope with the challenges of further hospital procedures, which has also inspired other children throughout their own journey. And it’s these attributes that led to Emily picking up a Young Achiever award.
Emily says the award is very special and she loves the teddy on top. Mum Julie hopes that whenever she looks at it she “remembers how brave she is, how much she has achieved and that it gives her the confidence to face whatever is still to come.” And so do we.
Congratulations Emily on winning a Young Achiever Award – we wish you the very best for the future.
The Scottish Children’s Health Awards have been created to celebrate courageous children and those who are making a difference to the health and wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland. The Young Achiever Award recognises those who have shown great determination and kept going, when it might have been so much easier to give up. It celebrates a child or young person who has gone above and beyond, showing enormous courage in their life and never giving up.