Remarkable Saffron Walden nurse is rewarded with national WellChild Award

A CHILDREN’S nurse from Saffron Walden has been named as a winner of a prestigious national award after being nominated by a patient’s family.

A CHILDREN’S nurse from Saffron Walden has been named as a winner of a prestigious national award after being nominated by a patient’s family.

Karen Higgins is to attend the WellChild Awards 2010 ceremony in London later this month to pick up her award.

She was nominated by the family of her patient, four-year-old Sam Bradley, who has a form of Dysautonomia. Karen, who now works as an epilepsy specialist nurse at Addenbrookes Hospital, supported Sam’s family from when he first came home from hospital.

The tot’s complex condition is as yet undiagnosed but he has to have a tracheostomy to help him breathe, as well as over-night ventilation and a feeding tube into his stomach. His family have found Karen’s support invaluable in getting Sam the support he needs.

Sam’s mother, Liz Bradley, said: “Without Karen, Sam would not have the care, quality of life, fun, equipment and support that he has. As a family we wouldn’t be where we are today without Karen.”

The WellChild Awards celebrate the courage of children coping with serious illnesses or complex conditions and honour the dedication of professionals who go the extra mile to help sick children and their families. Karen was picked from nominations from across the UK to win the Nurse category.

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WellChild Nurse Lucy Andrews has worked with Karen for many years and is delighted that her talents and devotion have been rewarded.

She said: “Everyone who has ever worked with Karen recognises her professional judgement, her special gifts for putting children and families at ease and her dedication to support their medical and emotional needs. She truly deserves to win a WellChild Award.”

With hundreds of nominations received from across the country, the difficult job of choosing winners in all 15 categories is given to an esteemed panel of judges. That panel consists of members of parliament, leading health professionals and others with an interest in children’s health.

WellChild’s director of programmes, Linda Partridge, is a member of the panel. She said: “We receive many nominations from all over the country and all the members of the panel are moved by the bravery of the children and the stories of selfless care and exceptional dedication and support from professionals.

“Karen truly deserves to be the winner of this award.

“The awards are a perfect demonstration of WellChild’s commitment to helping as many seriously ill children and their families as we can through our programmes of care, support and research. If you wish to help us with our work please visit our Reach Out for Sick Children WellChild Nurse Appeal website at”

Karen will be one of the stars of the show at September’s high profile awards ceremony at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel on September 27, which has been attended over the past few years by many of WellChild’s celebrity supporters, including Royal Patron Prince Harry.