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I got a mastectomy instead of getting married – one hero saved my life

WE’VE had so many brilliant nominations for this year’s Who Cares Wins awards – making it extremely hard for our judges to choose the worthiest winners.

The awards, sponsored by the National Lottery, are an opportunity for the nation to say thank you to the heroes who work or volunteer in the healthcare sector.

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Prince William at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Award, 2021Credit: Simon Jones

Our eight-strong panel of judges, including TV presenters Christine Lampard, Claudia Winkleman and footballer Tyrone Mings, as well as Ellie Orton, CEO of our charity partners NHS Charities Together, now have the unenviable task of deciding who should get a gong.

Winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony hosted by Davina McCall and screened on Channel 4 next month.

Here, we introduce you to some of our amazing health heroes . . . 

  • Additional reporting by Clare O’Reilly, Lynsey Hope, Margaret Hussey and Ruth Harrison.
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Young Hero – Charlie Price

WHILE some youngsters won’t even make their own bed, ten-year-old Charlie Price is only happy to help his dad around the house.

He is a registered young carer for Rob, 43, who has progressive multiple sclerosis, a condition which affects the brain and spinal cord.

Charlie Price, 10, is a registered young carer for dad Rob, 43, who has progressive multiple sclerosis

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Charlie Price, 10, is a registered young carer for dad Rob, 43, who has progressive multiple sclerosisCredit: Damien McFadden

Charlie, who lives with Rob, mum Becky, 39, and sister Evie, eight, in Droitwich Spa, Worcs, said: “I feel good that I can help my dad and it’s a real surprise to be nominated. I love him very much and will always help him when I can.”

Cheeky Charlie has been nominated for the Young Hero award by his teacher, Lynsey Pleger.

She said: “Charlie never, ever uses his circumstances as an excuse for not giving a hundred percent. His homework is always done and he always goes above and beyond what I’ve asked.

“I know Charlie gets upset with the way some people treat those in wheelchairs or using a mobility scooter, and he is always protective of his dad in these social situations.

“Having a parent who also has serious mobility issues, I am in awe of how Charlie deals with these situations.”

999 Hero – Jeremy Williams

PARAMEDICS from the East of England Ambulance Service saved not one, but two lives on an emergency call out to a woman in cardiac arrest – when a colleague suffered a heart attack.

Senior emergency medical technician Jeremy Williams, 53, was helping to rusticate the 30-year-old woman at her home in Stewartby, Beds, when he started to feel unwell himself in June this year.

East of England Ambulance Service paramedics - Jeremy Williams, right, with colleague Shaun Whittington

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East of England Ambulance Service paramedics – Jeremy Williams, right, with colleague Shaun WhittingtonCredit: East of England Ambulance Servic

His quick-thinking colleagues immediately carried out an ECG, which revealed he was having a heart attack.

Along with the female patient, Jeremy was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

Jeremy said: “If I was going to have a heart attack, I couldn’t have had it with better people around me. I will be forever grateful for the amazing team effort which helped to save two lives that day.”

Jeremy left hospital after just two days and the female patient recovered after five.

The Caroline Flack Mental Health Hero Award – Natalie Needham

TEXTILE artist Natalie Needham took up art therapy as a way to cope with her dad’s alcohol addiction – and has now helped countless others across the world.

After sewing her feelings onto squares of cloth, Natalie, 32, who works in the Opera North costume department, decided to share pictures of them on social media in May last year.

Natalie Needham took up art therapy as a way to cope with her dad’s alcohol addiction

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Natalie Needham took up art therapy as a way to cope with her dad’s alcohol addiction

She was so overwhelmed by the positive response, she decided to set up Stitch Away The Stigma, posting out free packs of fabric, cotton and needles to help others affected by the addiction of a loved one.

Natalie, who lives in York, was praised by singer Will Young for the work she does when the pair met during filming for the recent Channel 4 documentary, Will Young: Losing My Twin Rupert.

The singer’s brother took his own life two years ago after a long battle with depression and alcohol addiction.

Natalie was nominated by her friend Natasha Carr, 40, who’s own father was also addicted to alcohol.

Natasha said: ““Natalie has spoken up about her own experiences and despite the difficulties she found talking about it, she has reached out to so many people with empathy and understanding.”

Best Doctor – Dr Lucy Dugmore

ELAINE Nangle was diagnosed with breast cancer just two weeks before she was due to get married – and at the same time the nation went into lockdown.

But fortunately for Elaine, 40, from Reading, her GP, Dr Lucy Dugmore, went above and beyond to ensure she got the very best care.

Elaine, left, with GP Dr Dugmore

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Elaine, left, with GP Dr DugmoreCredit: Darren Fletcher

The mum-of-three was diagnosed with stage three lobular breast cancer, which begins in the milk-producing glands – called lobules – of the breast, in March 2020.

Elaine said: “After my diagnosis, in shock, I drove to London to collect my wedding dress, which I should have been wearing in just two weeks time but was instead in a hospital, alone awaiting a mastectomy.

“Dr Dugmore called before surgery to let me know she was there and would help any way she could. No matter how busy she was, she was always there to support me in any way possible.

“She championed for me to be transferred to an oncologist with lobular breast cancer expertise at the Royal Marsden and refused to give up until I got it.

“That has made all the difference, effectively giving me the best possible chance for a life without recurrence and a life watching my children grow up.”

Elaine, who has Freddie, 13, and 12-year-old twins, Rory and Darcey with partner Darrall, 47, has rescheduled their wedding to next year.

Best Charity – Mothers For Mothers

THREE weeks after giving birth to her fourth child Max, Zoe Harris began experiencing suicidal thoughts – and felt like she couldn’t go on.

The 43-year-old was prescribed antidepressants for postnatal depression and anxiety.

Zoe and baby Max with MFM’s Sophie Turner

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Zoe and baby Max with MFM’s Sophie TurnerCredit: Stewart Williams

But it was Bristol-based charity Mothers for Mothers who provided the light at the end of the tunnel.

Founded in 1981 by three women who had recovered from postnatal depression and believed in peer-to-peer support, the charity – whose staff all have lived experience – has helped thousands of women.

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Neonatal nursery nurse Zoe , from Bristol– who is also mum to Kory, 19, Libby, 15, and five-year-old Lottie – said: “All the staff and volunteers were incredibly warm, and to spend an hour walking with other mums who were experiencing the same as me was just wonderful.

“I still have bad days, but my story would have been very different without Mothers for Mothers – they’ve given me back my sparkle.”

Winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony hosted by Davina McCall and screened on Channel 4 next month

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Winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony hosted by Davina McCall and screened on Channel 4 next month



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