THE parents of a young singer believe she deserves an award for all she has overcome.
Sasha France has been nominated for the title of young performer of the year in our Pride of South Tyneside Awards for 2014.
The 10-year-old, of Randolph Street, Jarrow, has already had two operations on her heart.
The youngster, a pupil at St Bede’s RC Primary School in jarrow, loves nothing more than to sing and does so as often as she can, despite all she’s been through.
That’s why she was put forward for the award, sponsored by the Port of Tyne, by her mum Erin.
When Sasha was just a few days old, Mrs France realised there was something wrong with her baby’s breathing, but her doctors at the time initially sought to assure her that nothing was amiss.
After another 10 days, baby Sasha was rushed to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and given a heart scan, which revealed a coarctation of the aorta, a narrowing of the major cardiac artery, as well as a large hole in her heart.
Mrs France said: “They told us she required two heart operations and that the first one would be the following day to repair the artery.
“They said she needed to put weight on to help her survive the second operation and said that her heart was failing. It was totally heartbreaking.”
At 11 weeks old, Sasha’s heart began to fail, and despite her still being underweight, doctors were forced to operate.
The youngster has also suffered difficulties with her breathing, been in intensive care and had severe croup, a condition affecting the windpipe. Mrs France added: “Since I can remember, Sasha has always loved singing.
“My earliest memory that I can recall is on a flight back from holiday when she was four years old.
“The plane was coming down to land, and Sasha started singing You Are My Sunshine, and when she finished, the whole plane applauded her.”
Sasha began having vocal coaching at the age of eight and is now a member of the Pauline Quirk Academy of Performing Arts in Newcastle.
She also recently made it to the regional finals of the TeenStar singing competition.
Mrs France said: “Sasha still has check-ups on her heart but is doing well.
“She has shown us that even if you have something wrong, it doesn’t have to stop you from going for what you want.
“She is a strong, determined young lady and hasn’t let anything stop her going for her dream of singing, and we are very proud of her.”
Young Performer of the Year (under-21s)
Child of Courage (under-16s)
Community Group of the Year
Judges’ Special Award
Carer of the Year
Greener South Tyneside
Entrepreneur of the Year
Child of Achievement (under-16s)
The deadline for entriescan be made online at www.nepress.co.uk/sgjj/pride 2014, before Tuesday, April 29.
The awards ceremony will be held at the Quality Hotel in Witney Way, Boldon Colliery, on the evening of Thursday, June 12.
Young Performer nominees will be invited to take part in a talent showcase at the Customs House on Thursday, May 8, to help the judges make their decision.