A school girl who survived meningitis at just two weeks old has been recognised after raising more than £25,000 for charity.
Daisy Bell, of Bradshaw Close, in Huntingdon, has been crowned Person of the Year by Oxfam Books and Music, and picked up her prize, a £50 meal voucher for Pizza Express, earlier this month. The eight-year-old, who takes part in fund-raising events and donates her pocket money to various charities, was nominated for the Huntingdon charity shop’s inaugural award scheme in January.
Daisy’s mum, Siande, says she is incredibly proud of her daughter who has undergone 10 brain surgeries at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and is still receiving treatment for the after effects of meningitis, which include epilepsy.
Daisy was just two weeks old when she became poorly and Siande says the memory of what happened to her tiny baby “still haunts me now”.
“I knew she wasn’t right and it soon became clear she was very poorly,” she said.
“I had taken her to the GP as I was worried about her but she went downhill very quickly - probably within 20 minutes. One minute she was unwell and the next they were attaching a bag to help her breathe. She was rushed to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, but by the time we arrived at the hospital she had stopped breathing. The staff on Holly ward saved her life. It still haunts me now, but we have had lots of support over the years and Daisy is so positive.”
Siande has four other children aged 18, 11-year-old twins and a one-year-old.
Daisy was admitted to hospital on December 15 and remained there for one month and her family postponed Christmas until the new year as she fought for her life. She underwent her first brain operation for hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) at 10 weeks and had another nine procedures, including having a shunt fitted, between the ages of three and six.
Daisy is now home-schooled as she struggles with her memory and retaining information and has seizures.
“Considering everything she has been through, she has coped well and although she has a lot of check-ups and still has some health issues, she copes well,” said Siande.
Over the last few years, Daisy has taken part in sponsored walks, organised cake stalls, and most touchingly, hands over all her pocket money to charity.
“When she has a birthday party, she asks her guests to make a donation to charity rather than buy her a present,” explained Siande.
“She even wrote a letter to Hamleys and managed to get them to donate some toys for children at Addenbrooke’s who are waiting to have scans. We are very, very proud of her and she was so excited to win this award.”
Daisy has raised money for Holly ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, D2 ward at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and various meningitis charities.
Daisy is taking part in a fund-raising walk in April for the Meningitis Research Foundation and has agreed to walk five miles each day. She is running in memory of her friend Frazier Burrows, aged nine, who died last year after contracting meningitis.
Angela Makey who supported her sons, both on the autistic spectrum, to open and run the Niche Comics store in Huntingdon, was awarded the runner-up prize of a £20 book voucher.
Angela had seen statistics from the National Autistic Society, which said that only about one in six people with autism were in full-time employment and decied to help her sons. The shop was opened in 2007.
Geoffrey Stalker, manager at Oxfam Books and Music, said: “This was the first year for the awards and we are really pleased to have found such deserving people. People like Daisy and Angela are a great asset to the community and we should be celebrating their achievements. When we launched the awards it was just half an idea really, but we have been so impressed by all the people who do such amazing things that we want to make it bigger and better next year.”
INFO: If you would like to make a donation for Daisy’s fundraising, go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sianade-bell8.