So last month I found out I was shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards – Positive Role Model for Disability and was completely blown away. Thank you for all the nominations and votes I feel honoured to have made it through to the next stage.
What are the National Diversity Awards?
The National Diversity Awards is an awards ceremony which honours positive role models, entrepreneurs and community organisations across several different strands within the equality and diversity sector. It is held annually usually at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
There are many different categories and you can read the other shortlisted nominees here.
So what happens now?
I have been invited to the award ceremony which is a black-tie event on the 14th September in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral where the winners for all the categories will be announced. I am taking my mum and I am really excited to meet some amazing and inspiring people and to enjoy the celebrations.
Radio 2’s presenter and Scissor Sister Ana Matronic will host this year’s ceremony alongside Brian Dowling which should be a great night.
What does being shortlisted mean to me?
It means the world! This is the first time I have been shortlisted for an award and this will be the first time I have attended an awards ceremony. I cannot believe how different my life is now compared to a few years ago. I felt broken physically, mentally and spirituality stuck in my illness and trapped in the victim mentality. When I got my second stoma (urostomy) I vowed to embrace life and make the most of my ‘second chance’ and ‘new normal’ to give back and support others. That is what I have done and since this blog was launched in January 2017 amazing opportunities have kept coming in my path.
There are amazing blogs and advocates out there with colostomies and ileostomies but I felt there was a gap regarding double ostomates and urostomy blogs. This was when I decided to share my experience and help have a better online presence for urostomates. Now my blog has evolved into campaigning regarding ‘Urostomy Awareness - #TheForgottenStoma’ and working closely with Healthcare Professionals on research regarding awareness of this stoma type in primary and secondary care. I initially wanted my blog to help one person not feel so alone and I believe I have achieved that and also found a community where I belong in as well.
I would love to win the award and fly the flag for all ostomates however if I do not win I feel like a winner already to be shortlisted. I have turned my life around showing that I am more than my challenges and now to be able to help others and make changes.
As a community, we continue to break stigmas regarding stomas, invisible illnesses and show you can live life with stomas. I think I do more now than I did before I got them and in an odd way they have helped me find respect for my body for just how miraculous it is to still continue fighting after all my surgeries, sepsis and close calls.
Thank you once again for all the nomination and votes. I will take lots of pictures on the night and update on my social media channels!