Indies awards: 'Everything we know about courage we have learned from Elmo'
Team Elmo triumphed at the inaugural Indies when three-year-old Elliot Michelson was named joint winner of the final award of the evening - Young Person of Courage.
Elmo, as he is known to family and friends, was not expected to make it past his first birthday after suffering a brain injury at birth. As a result, he is unable to walk or talk and suffers from delayed development, a heart defect and visual impairment.
He was nominated by his aunt, Hope Alexander, who was herself nominated by Elmo’s mum Sophie in the Charity Champion category.
Hope said: “Despite what many people see as problems in his life, Elmo is a joyful little boy who brings light and happiness to all those around him.
“There are times when, as a family, we feel angry and sad for him, but those instances are far outweighed by happy moments with him.
“Elmo is amazing. He’s sociable, curious, funny – and he knows it. His determination is phenomenal… Everything we know about courage and resilience we have learnt from him.
“We try not to worry about being strong enough to look after Elmo – we’re just proud to have someone so incredibly special in our family.”
Sophie and Elmo’s proud dad Nick took the tot on stage to receive his trophy from Park Lane Property Agents boss David Worrell, who got a cuddle from Elmo in return.
The Michelson family, which also includes five-year-old Oliver, received tickets for Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, courtesy of Premier Travel, and to see the Beauty and the Beast panto in Stortford this Christmas holiday, thanks to Rhodes Arts Complex. Their prize bundle was completed by books from Heffers.
Mum Sophie said: “We are really delighted to receive this award, it means so much to us as a family.”
The Michelsons and their Team Elmo supporters need to raise around £70,000 a year to pay for the intensive therapies Elmo needs to realise his full potential. They have just returned from treatment in Orlando and will be spending December in Los Angeles in their quest to help him walk and talk.
Sophie said: “If there are any local companies that want to help or individuals who want to fundraise, it would be amazing to help with his development.”