Earlier this year we nominated one of our beneficiaries, Ben Morris, for Best Magazine's Hero Awards and were delighted to learn that he was one of the worthy winners! In October Ben, and his wife Marie, attended the star-studded awards ceremony in London with meals and an overnight stay thrown in.
Ben is step-dad to JJ who is 8 years old and Mia, 13, and also has three daughters of his own – Sophie who is 16 years old, Phoebe 14 and Isabel, 10.
“I was a single father bringing up my 3 girls on my own. In this time I met Marie, Mia and JJ and we used to take our two youngest to a sure-start club together, where I watched JJ run around and talk my ears off, she was a very happy and healthy little girl. However, sadly, in January 2011 JJ (aged 2), became unwell and went into Status epilepticus and was put in an induced coma in intensive care. Once they woke her, she was a forever changed little girl and could no longer walk and talk like she used to. The prolonged seizure had left her severely brain damaged and disabled, needing 24/7 care. In this time Marie's previous marriage broke down and further along the line we ended up together and recently got married and our families joined together as one. So, I am now a proud father to not only my three girls, but also my twostep-daughters.
Recently, I have stopped working and became JJ's full time carer, so Marie could follow her dream and work for the Ambulance service but I also have my dream - having quality time with the children. However, it is a struggle sometimes, as JJ does have restless nights due to her condition and regular medication that she needs. We also have the everyday struggles - we can no longer take her out on bike rides as we do not have a suitable seating system for her and her ever growing needs means new equipment and this isn't cheap! Going out can be a bind as we have to be mindful of stairs and public facilities. Holidays are also such a headache for us, as JJ suffers from hyperacusis, so it has to be somewhere quiet but still have all the equipment we have at home to be able to bathe and help her in her every day needs, so it really is a welcome support that the Trust gives us, and continues to do so."
We are so proud of Ben and we are delighted that Best Magazine selected him as one of their #BestHeroes.