Brave Hannah Jones loves the trophy she got from the Shields Gazette for being “a real-life princess.”
The family of this incredible South Shields youngster looked back on the night when she stole the hearts of the public.
Hannah, now three and a half, was one of four winners of the Child of Courage category in the Best of South Tyneside awards last summer.
It was given to the youngster, who was born just 25 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy – weighing just 1lb 9oz.
At just 20 minutes old, she was placed on a ventilator at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary because she could not breathe on her own. Further problems ensued when she suffered a bleed on the brain, which caused cerebral palsy.
She was so poorly, mum Katy, 25 and her husband Ryan, 26, couldn’t even give her a cuddle until she was six weeks old.
Since then, her health battles have included a fight with hydrocephalus, and being diagnosed with nectrotising enterocolitis, which meant she had to have her large bowel and part of her small bowel removed.
A year on and Hannah is still bravely fighting. Recent assessments have determined that she is not poorly enough to have a transplant.
But Hannah has spent months on end in hospital including a three-month stint which only ended on Christmas Eve.
Despite all that, Hannah had the time of her life at the Best of South Tyneside finals night last year. Katy, her full-time carer, said: “It was absolutely amazing to be part of it.
“It was amazing to be normal for one night. Hannah thoroughly enjoyed it and she tells everyone that she got a trophy for being brave.
“We call it her princess award for being such a good girl and for everything she has been through.
“Hannah calls it her ‘Real Life Princess Trophy’.”
The trophy takes pride of place in the family’s kitchen. It’s their main source of entry to the house and that means it’s the first thing the family sees each time they come home.
Katy added: “It was such a fabulous night. It was a pick-me-up for the kids, even though Hannah is only three. It was an acknowledgement of what she has done.”
A lot has happened for the youngster since last July’s awards finale. Tests showed she has fibrosis of the liver and needs a stomach, bowel and liver transplant but a recent assessment in Birmingham, said Katy, showed she was not yet poorly enough to require a transplant.
In another development, she has started attending Monkton Nursery and “loves it”, said her proud mum.
Katy urged other people to nominate for this year’s awards and said: “It is amazing to be part of it and I would encourage people to nominate. It is a great opportunity.”
The Best of South Tyneside awards have a headline sponsor of Siemens and are being held in association with The Customs House, and with Port of Tyne, BT South Tyneside, Barbour, David Gray and Harlow Print as category sponsors.
The deadline for entries for the Young Performer competition is Monday, April 4. After that, all the Young Performer finalists will get to perform at the Customs House, in South Shields, on Monday, April 18.
The deadline for entries in the overall competition is May 6. After that, judges will draw up a shortlist for each of the categories listed.
And then it’s on to the grand finale, which will be held this year at the Quality Hotel on June 9.
The awards will honour unsung stars. We know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards.
To nominate send your name, address and telephone number, the name of the business or person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).
State which category your nomination applies to (from the list of categories) and provide a description of the reasons for your nomination (no more than 300 words)
Post your nomination to: Nicola Meldrum, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA alternatively email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org