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Children of Courage - your chance to vote

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

By Sarah Marshall

  • Oliver Taylor

  • Hannah Taylor

  • Sophia Faith Colley and her mum Annette Martinez

  • Millie Cope

  • Leo Keates

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SOME truly amazing youngsters have been nominated for the Newsletter/Stafford College Children of Courage awards.

We asked people to nominate special children who deserved recognition and their stories certainly inspire.

Stafford College principal Beverley Smith said: "We are privileged to play a part in ensuring that these brave and inspiring young people receive the recognition that they richly deserve. I hope that all the nominees and their families take great pride in their nomination and look forward to meeting some of them very soon." 

STAFFORD teenager Oliver Taylor has been nominated by his proud mum Sharon Taylor for his determination.

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In November last year Oliver, 14, suffered an acute brain haemorrhage. It was then discovered he had a rare condition, known as Arteriovenous malformation, where blood vessels in the brain bypass normal brain tissue and directly divert blood from the arteries to the veins. People are usually born with the condition but often do not know they have it until they suffer a haemorrhage.

Oliver, of Edison Road, was in a coma for two weeks and his family were told he would not survive and if he did he would be severely disabled.

But against the odds he slowly learned to walk, communicate and eat and is constantly amazing his doctors.

After being in and out of both the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and Alder Hey in Liverpool he has now been discharged and has gone back to Sir Graham Balfour School part-time.

Mrs Taylor said: “He has been an inspiration to many and has never let his condition get him down.

“We have been told he will make a full recovery. He has been so brave.”

HANNAH Taylor, 13, has been nominated by her grandmother Christine Taylor for the help she provides to her parents.

Hannah’s dad Nick Taylor is profoundly deaf and her mother Sarah Bradbury has severe hearing loss so Hannah and her younger brother Ryan, 12, provide vital support to them at their Norfolk Way home.

She is a fluent British Sign Language signer, along with Ryan, having been using BSL since she was a toddler. Last year she achieved her BSL level one certificate and is about to take her level two.

Hannah, a pupil at King Edward VI High School, took the lead role in training the family Labradoodle Wispa to use sign, as well as voice so that her parents were involved. She regularly answers the phone, the door and brings her parents up to speed with anything they might have missed or misunderstood, including TV programmes and IT support.

Mrs Taylor said: “Signing is like breathing for Hannah. She was able to sing and sign nursery rhymes at 15 months old. She could express her feelings far in advance of her age through sign.

“She is a delightful young lady, mature and sensitive to the needs and feelings of all around her.

“As her Grandmother I am delighted to be able to nominate Hannah for The Special Recognition Award.”

BABY Sophia Faith Colley who defied the odds after being given just two to three weeks to live was nominated by her sister.

Sophia was born in November with a genetic condition, called Edwards Syndrome, where a baby develops three types of extra chromosome and it disrupts their development. Many do not live long and those who survive beyond one year will have disabilities.

Her parents Annette Martinez, 43, and Alex Colley, 36, of Silkmore Lane, were left devastated. It was a double blow for Miss Martinez as her son Daniel Martinez died in 2008 aged five after a well-publicised battle against neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

But Sophia showed she was a determined youngster and continued to make good progress

“The nomination for the Child of Courage award was a shock. I had no idea Lilly had done it, but it’s lovely that she has. Sophia is very special to all of us.”

Lilly added: “I am just really proud of her and when I saw the Children of Courage awards I knew I had to nominate her.”

BRAVE Millie Cope who has endured years of gruelling surgery and can now walk for the first time on her own was nominated by her grandmother Susan Elsmore.

Millie, seven, was born with spina bifida and has always used either a wheelchair or walking frame to get around. The condition meant her spine had not formed properly, caused nerve damage and left her with no feeling in one of her legs.

Millie has under gone numerous operations over the years. She is under the care of Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital, which means she and her family have to make the journey from their home in The Beeches, Rugeley, to the city on frequent occasions.

Last year Millie, a pupil at Hob Hill Primary, had to have the tibia bones in her legs broken and re-cast. She has now developed some sensation in the one leg where there was previously nothing - and for the first time she can walk small distances without the aid of a frame.

Millie’s proud mum Sarah Cope, 36, said: “Millie is always so brave and never complains, considering what she has been through. She is a fan of One Direction and loves shoes. She is determined to wear nice shoes. I am just so very proud of her.”

Mrs Elsmore, of Trent Lane, Great Haywood, added: “She is such a star my beautiful granddaughter.”

CHEERFUL toddler Leo Keates received four separate nominations for his bravery in coping with spina bifida.

Soon after the two-year-old was born it was discovered he had a lump on the bottom of his back and a month later he was found to have spina bifida.

In April last year at 11 months old he spent four weeks in hospital having treatment to his spinal cord. At 18-months-old he had treatment on his right foot and had to wear a cast for six weeks. He is now facing having to have similar treatment on his left foot.

Leo, who lives in Hamilton Avenue, Uttoxetter, with parents Faye Leason, Marc Keates, 26, and one-month-old sister Lilibeth, was nominated by his mum Faye and three other people, including friends Michelle Lowe, Katie Leatherbarrow and Katie Plant.

Mum faye, 23, said: “Leo crawls everywhere but in February he walked for the first time in his walker.

“He is always smiling and showing the world how amazing he is. Nothing will stop him achieving what he wants in life.”

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