One truly inspiring story came to us from the Colostomy UK, a charity that supports and empowers ostomates in the United Kingdom. Last month they were very proud to announce that 14-year-old Aled Griffiths from Plymouth was awarded a medal in this year’s British Citizen Youth Award.
The British Citizen Youth Award, in association with Specsavers, is a recognition program for inspirational young people doing extraordinary things in their local communites. Aled was one of 24 children honored during a formal presentation on October 19 at the Palace of Westminster.
“I feel amazed and honoured that someone has taken the time to read about me and decide that I am worth it.” – Aled Griffiths
The BCyA medal was presented to Aled by Ashley Banjo who is the creative director, choreographer and lead dancer of Diversity. The dance troupe Diversity won the third series on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.
Aled was born with a rare medical condition called Vacterl Association, which resulted in various operations including a colostomy and Mitrofanoff procedure. He is the ambassador for Colostomy UK’s Junior Ostomy Support Helpline (J.O.S.H.) program and also volunteers his time for campaigns to raise awareness. Aled views his condition as an opportunity to talk to others about coping with physical challenges with a mission to prove that people with Vacterl Association are "abled" rather than "disabled."
At age 10, Aled gave a presentation about himself to 600 specialist nurses at the Association of Stoma Care Nurses Conference. His hope was to raise awareness and inspire others to achieve their dreams. Two years later, he traveled with a charity organization to India where he helped build a school.
Parents, Gaile and Neale Griffiths said, “We are so proud of Aled and what he has achieved. From such a young age he has been aware of how much he can help others, especially younger children and their families who are learning to cope with a stoma. As well as being the children’s ambassador for both J.O.S.H. and the Mitrofanoff Support, he still finds time to do well at school and simply wants to show that having differences shouldn’t stop anyone.”
Well done Aled Griffiths — and thank you Colostomy UK for sharing inspiration with us!