The Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration

22882429_10155279024871359_1830436658_oThis is an incredible year and by that, I mean I am constantly pinching myself to check whether this is really happening. Last year, I tentatively wrote my first blogs for the This Girl Can campaign about starting to climb, the challenges I was facing and the learning I took from them. Little did I know that my very tentative dip of my toe into sharing my journey with others would lead to what happened last night.

A Thursday morning at the end of September, I got a call from the amazing Andy Brittles at LimbPower. I was due to attend the Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville that Saturday and I assumed he was just checking that I was ok with the logistics and I was feeling ok. Incredibly, after nearly a year of being a LimbPower Ambassador, this was going to be my first chance to meet the team in person as I had missed the previous two Junior Games due to poor health.

Little did I know that he was also calling to give me some news, some incredible news. I had been nominated for the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration as part of the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year. I had heard of her, I knew she had broken immense barriers and paved the way for future female sports presenters. She also had had cancer and carried on working through treatment and was a huge advocate for disability sport. As part of her legacy, the Sunday Times created an Award to be given as part of their yearly Sportswoman of the Year Awards.

To be nominated for an award of any calibre is already an immense honour, but this one? My head started reeling. It’s a nomination, what do I need to do next? With the Asian Women of Achievement Awards there were several steps. I had about 5 months to accept that I had been nominated, then shortlisted and I’ve since had another 5 months to digest that I had won…this wasn’t the case with the Helen Rollason Award.

A couple of minutes after Andy had told me I was nominated, he also told me he had some good news for me (understatement of the year!), I had won.

To say the least, the last month has been a whirlwind. I kicked off my bid to qualify for Team GB and had to pull out of one of the trials with an injury that could have had me out for the rest of the season (I’m working hard to get back to competition level fitness). I finished my Everest Challenge for Shine Cancer Support, attended my first ever LimbPower event and met the Prime Minister for tea, it’s been truly incredible.  I also carried on working at my day job as normal.

Yesterday loomed up on me extremely fast. The nerves have been there all month, this was going to be my first time on live TV but having been so busy, the nerves hadn’t registered as much. Fast forward to last night and it hit. I was really up for this award.

The night was amazing. It still hasn’t sunk in. This whole year hasn’t sunk in and certainly not the last 24 hours. People are already asking me what next and all I’m saying right now is that I’m going to go with the flow and see what happens. This award has certainly given me the motivation and strength to keep doing what I’m doing. It has yet again taught me to keep believing the impossible is possible and is hopefully going to drive me to be the change I want to see in society.

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