FEW of the people who attended the Burton Mail Children of Courage awards last year could forget the smiling face of meningitis survivor Kaiya Jackson.
The little girl from Horninglow beamed as she accepted the special recognition award with her mum Ashley and dad Dan, after she won over the judges with her can-do attitude.
Now four, she has started at Tower View Primary School, and she approaches the challenges of her school days with the same chirpy determination as everything else.
“She’s doing really well,” said her mum Ashley Ward.
“She’s loving school. She’s writing her name and learning how to spell and learning to read, and she’s really enjoying all of it,” she added.
But it could all have been so different.
Kaiya was just 16 months old when she was rushed into hospital suffering with meningitis, and she spent several critical weeks in hospital battling the disease.
The blood poisoning took her fingers and one foot, but spared her young life.
To look at the little one now, you would barely know of the suffering she has endured in her short years.
She has found her own ways to do many things, including writing, and with the help of a prosthetic foot, she can take play with her classmates as well as any other four-year-old. Kaiya has even learned how to peel a banana without her fingers – something she is keen to show off at home.
“I wasn’t very sure how she would do on her first day at school, but her disability doesn’t even bother her. All the other children look after her,” Miss Ward, of Kingsley Road, said.
Kaiya’s award was one of four given out at last year’s event. Miss Ward said she thought it would have been good for all of them.
“It showed everyone that even children with disabilities, like Kaiya, can just get on with it.
“For all the children, it’s an achievement and shows they are doing really well.”
There are six categories in this year’s Children of Courage awards: Courage award; carer award; fund-raising award; community contribution award; sporting achievement award.
Each will be separated into two age groups – under 11, and 11-17.
Nominations can be made by using the form in the Burton Mail, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org