The Award for 2009 has been given to Joe Mawdsley, founder of the Rainbow House Centre in Cheshire. The article states:
In April 2001, four months after her five and three year old sons’ were diagnosed with the rare genetic life-threatening disorder (CDG), Mawdsley created Rainbow House, a self-help group delivering conductive educational and holistic therapies to six children including her own boys. Mawdsley funded the centre for two years using her disability allowance. In 2003, Rainbow House became a charity tending 112 youngsters weekly, in Chorley, its East Lancashire and Cumbria branches.
Officially opened by Princess Royal in 2007, the emotional, physical and behavioural rehabilitation centre now treats 187 children aged from 7 months to 21 years old. And there is a two year waiting list. It employs 32 staff plus an on-site physiotherapist and provides tailor-made treatments from 7.30 am until 6.30pm for 50 weeks a year. Last year, in Mawdsley’s drive to raise £1m annual maintenance, this indefatigable mother-of-three addressed 85 charitable groups nationwide and organised countless communal events.
Despite living with a ticking time-bomb, Mawdsley remains positive stating: “My boys shouldn’t sit up, talk, feed, toilet themselves or walk – albeit with crutches – but they do . They were fine at birth. But at 13 months, Tom, now 11, was discharged from hospital to die. At 4 months, Will, now 13, stopped supporting his head. Looking into his eyes, it seemed his light had been switched off -nothing there. I’ve been desperate and suicidal. Occupational and physiotherapies proved ineffective, so I arrived with 21 months old Will, floppy like jelly in my arms, at Merseyside Association for Conductive Education. Three months later he crawled, sat and uttered his first word- ‘No!'”
A wonderful result, Joe, and great publicity for Conductive Education.