Today we focus on the second category in the countdown to the Examiner Community Awards and here are three brilliant youngsters who are the finalists for Young Personality.
The winner will be revealed at the awards night at the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday, May 25.
Little Savannah McAllister has some way to go before she beats leukaemia.
But the three-year-old from Slaithwaite, known as ‘Smiley Savannah’ due to her sunny disposition, is showing amazing resilience.
It’s been a tough journey since she was diagnosed on Mother’s Day last year but her brilliant personality has helped to keep her family going through some traumatic times.
Mum Emily said: “If Savannah’s not moaning then how can we moan? She has such a zest for life and is always smiling – she has helped us so much as a family.”
Emily’s intuition that something was seriously wrong led her to take Savannah to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary A&E at 4pm on Mother’s Day in 2016 after she came out in a rash.
Savannah was transferred to Calderdale Royal and then moved to Leeds General here she received her first chemotherapy the next day. Since then she has had nine hospital stays there totalling 11 weeks.
She has undergone lumbar punctures, chemotherapy given intravenously, lots of antibiotiocs and countless blood tests ... yet she has smiled her way through them all and never moaned once.
Emily said: “She’s actually seen it as an adventure which is quite a strange concept really.”
There was a blip a few weeks ago when Savannah contracted pneumonia but that was sorted with antibiotics.
Her hair has started to return and she’s lost the excess weight from the steroids she took to help her through her chemotherapy.
She has mobility problems, tiredness and sickness caused by the chemotherapy she’ll be taking until August 2018.
Only then will her family know if she is in remission and a further five years before she could be given the all-clear but the hospital is pleased with her progress so far.
However, all the chemotherapy and antibiotics are likely to leave long-lasting problems with Savannah’s bones.
Emily had taken redundancy from her job invoicing at Kirklees Council to care for Savannah, who is crazy about Disney’s Frozen and will start at Nields Primary and Nursery School, Slaithwaite, in September.
And the family have a real target to aim for in 2019 for it is hoped Savannah and her family, including dad Andy and siblings Scarlett (7), Stanley (6) and Sidney (2), will be going to Disneyland Paris.
Andy is managing director at Wakefield-based Yorkshire Boilers.
Emily’s hairdresser Julie Earnshaw held Savannah’s Sunday family fun day in June which raised £3,685 towards the holiday.
Jill Clough, of Milnsbridge Village Hall, raised a further £350 towards the £6,000 the family need for their all-inclusive trip. The total now stands at £4,300.
Jody Mills may only be eight but he’s a giant when it comes to cycling.
And he’s done all this after battling back from a serious illness.
For he has had an outstanding 12 months competing in the many disciplines of cycle racing across local, regional and national competitions.
He has dominated the Under 8 age category and currently holds a number of titles across each level of competition including the British Schools Cycling Association.
Jody was very ill up to the age of two and had to have a kidney removed. He has subsequently been diagnosed with a significant leg length discrepancy potentially caused by the kidney illness for which he sees a specialist and has to wear corrective insoles to balance out the difference in length of each his legs.
Dad David said: “Jody is, however, a very active and athletic boy and when this leg issue was diagnosed a few years ago he refused to let it stop him doing sport and, most specifically, his cycling. He has continued to get stronger and stronger since his diagnosis and has not let this hold him back in any way.”
He added: “Jody joined the Huddersfield Star Wheelers cycling club in 2014 purely because he wanted to ride his bike more and didn’t even know the world of cycle racing existed. Later that year he was invited to take part in his first race and he simply fell in love with the sport. Throughout the last 12 months though he has been almost unbeatable.”
But Jody also wanted to use his cycling skills to raise charity cash.
Last year he wanted to take on a challenge to raise some money for Parkinsons UK as his grandad David Flavin and great uncle David Smith both suffer with the disease. Having watched his idols in Team Sky riding in the Tour de France Jody decided to take on one of the Tour De France climbs from when they visited Yorkshire and asked to ride up Cragg Vale in Calderdale.
Cragg Vale is the longest continuous incline in the UK climbing 968ft over 5.5 miles with a maximum gradient of 7.7%. Jody managed to raise £513 for Parkinsons UK and completed the climb in 38 minutes 40 seconds with an average climbing speed of 9mph.
Jody hopes to top his Cragg Vale ride with an attempt at a Tour de France climb in France, the Col de Joux Plane, while on holiday nearby.
Jody then took on the Silverstone Time trial Challenge in support of the charity Operation Smile which helps children with facial deformities.
In the days running up to this event the charity asked Jody to go on Chris Evans radio 2 breakfast show ‘kids get a fanfare’ section to promote the charity and the event. Jody did this brilliantly and got to talk about his love of cycling with Chris live on air.
Jody’s lists of cycling titles seems endless and even though he is now eight he is competing against youngsters two years older ... and beating them.
He holds under 7 national British Schools cyclocross, mountain bike, circuit and grass track titles along with many regional titles, was the Yorkshire under 8 cyclocross champion in 2015/16 and is the West Riding Grass Track League champion.
He will also be going to the European Youth Tour in Assen, Netherlands, to compete in the week long event in August.
He attends The Mount School in Edgerton.
Cody Rushworth suffers from a condition which often leaves him in pain ... but he is always thinking of others.
He suffers from dyspraxia, a development disorder of the brain which affects his co-ordination, how he processes information and he has reduced vision in his left eye. He also has hypermobility which leaves him with painful joints.
Last year the Oakes 10-year-old started with Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and was named Most Talented Beginner as well as passing certificates in horse-riding and horse care.
He was so delighted to get the opportunity he has been busy fundraising to give something back to RDA by baking cakes and supporting friend Bob Hudson doing a half-marathon in Bradford where Cody went round the crowds collecting money.
He sold raffle tickets and helped run a stall in Huddersfield’s indoor market to make as much money as he can for RDA.
He also raised money for the Dyspraxia Foundation by helping to organise a fancy dress day at his dad, Steve’s work – he is the business development manager at Lockwood glass company Novaglaze Ltd – and has taken food to The Welcome Centre which is then distributed to people in need. Cody is also keen to help the homeless in Huddersfield, donating money and bottles of water.
His mum, Kelly, said: “On a daily basis Cody struggles with the simplest of things such as getting dressed, following instructions, tying shoelaces, PE, balance and co-ordination. He has to wear special inserts in his shoes to help with his hypermobility which often causes him pain. He gets pain in his hands and fingers when he’s at school doing his writing.
“He has endless appointments to see podiatry, opticians, physio, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and rheumatology but takes it all in his stride.
“Most forms of exercise, including the horse riding that he loves, result in Cody having pain so he has to take regular pain relief but despite this he never gives up and continues every day to make us proud.”
Cody attends Hillside Primary in Newsome where the staff have worked closely with him to build his confidence.
He helps out with the morning breakfast club and does jobs for the kitchen staff to help them prepare for dinner.
Now he even does afterschool clubs including street dance, taekwondo, football and basketball.
Cody has a younger brother, three-year-old Riley.
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We are delighted to once again sponsor the Young Personality Award for 2017 and would like to offer our congratulations to all the finalists in this category.