Indies awards Child of Courage winner Katie Callaghan enjoys trip in style to London's West End courtesy of Connection Cars
The joint winner of the Child of Courage title at the 2019 Indies community awards was chauffeured in style to London's West End to enjoy her prize.
Birchwood High School student Katie Callaghan, 18, uses a wheelchair as a result of a connective tissue disorder which causes her chronic pain and fatigue, and frequent joint dislocations.
Also, her stomach and intestines do not work properly, so she is unable to eat or drink and relies on a central line into her heart to receive nutrition via her bloodstream.
Katie once spent ten months in hospital in a single year. It was as a 13-year-old in May 2015, during a four-month stay in hospital, that she started a project called Cards For Bravery.
“I was having a difficult time and one day I received a card from a friend which really helped to brighten my day and made me smile,” she said. “After a while, I decided that I wanted to start making handmade cards for other hospitalised and seriously ill kids and teens.”
Katie’s project was born and she has not looked back. It has now distributed some 9,000 cards to other sick children and young adults.
“I understand how difficult it is to be a kid or adolescent in hospital, especially for long periods of time, as you can often feel isolated, forgotten, lonely or scared as the world goes by and you’re missing out on most things other children would take for granted, such as going to school or hanging out with friends,” she said.
“A handmade card is something so simple yet can really help an unwell child feel positive, happy and remain strong as well as really brighten their day and remind them someone is thinking of them.”
It was in recognition of her Cards For Bravery project that Katie was named joint winner of the Child of Courage title at the 2019 Indies community awards at Rhodes Arts Complex in November. As well as a trophy presented by Indie publisher Iliffe Media's MD Ricky Allan, the Indie arranged for her to see a theatre show in the West End – in style.
So, with the help of Clavering-based executive car service Connections Cars, Katie and her mum Debbie were picked up from their home in Heath Row, Bishop's Stortford, by company director John Causton and driven to the Noel Coward Theatre to watch a matinee performance of musical Dear Evan Hansen.
Debbie said: "It was amazing, a fantastic day, and Katie absolutely loved it – we can't thank the Indie enough.
"John was brilliant and she felt really special being driven up there. The musical was something that she was desperate to see and it was really good."
* Connections Cars, which was established in 1998, is a family-run private hire taxi and chauffeur service serving an area within a 50-mile radius of Stansted Airport. It operates a fleet of luxury people carriers driven by carefully selected drivers.
For details, visit https://www.connectionscars.co.uk/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07855 859710 or 01799 550880.