Nicholas Nikiforou, a 12 year old activist has been nominated for the ‘Positive Role Model’ award in the UK’s National Diversity Awards 2019.

Nik was born with a pre-cancerous large congenital melanocytic nevus that covered two-thirds of his face.

After it was removed, it left him with scarring on his face. He is considered ‘disfigured’ under the ‘Disabilities Act’.

This is a term that he disagrees with and is fighting for facial equality. As part of his campaigning, Nicholas prints his own art pieces onto thousands of cards and physically hands them out to the public to advocate for kindness, diversity and equality. He also talks in the media about facial equality and runs a YouTube channel.

“I have been severely bullied all because of the way I look. It took a long time for me to realise the good impact I could have on the world, I believed people when they told me that I was worthless, when they told me I wouldn’t be anything because of the way I looked. But throughout the years, I have learnt that what we look like doesn’t define us,” Nik says.

In 2016, he became “The Face of Kinder” and appeared on the wrap of the famous chocolates.

“When newspapers in the UK were writing about me, I had a lot of support but then I noticed some newspapers saying ‘Birthmark boy becomes Face of Kinder’. I sat in my room repeating ‘birthmark boy’. Just in shock. Is that really what I was seen as by some? A birthmark boy? Rather than someone who has made history, I was seen as a ‘birthmark boy’.

He says that this inspired him to fight for change. “This started me on my journey which is why I am privileged to be able to reach individuals through my art, singing, and speeches. My vision is to encourage individuals to embrace what they do have and what they can be, rather than focus on what they do not have or may think they cannot be.”

Nik is a Diana Award winner and anti-bullying ambassador, as well as a British Citizen Youth Award medalist. In 2017 he was voted as one of the “24 most Influential Bristolians Under 24.”

Source – Written by Stelios Marathovouniotis as featured on in-cyprus.com – https://in-cyprus.com/uk-cypriot-antibullying-ambassador-nominated-for-positive-role-model-award-video/

SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


On 14th October 2013, 19 year old Jemma began to feel unwell. Over the next few days her symptoms worsened suffering from severe pain, headaches and constant nausea. Jemma was rushed to A&E and a CT scan revealed severe swelling in the outer lining of her brain, leading to emergency brain surgery. They found Jemma had meningitis strain Y and encephalitis. She woke up three weeks later and spent three and a half months in intensive care, followed by eight months at a neuro rehab unit. Returning home almost one year later, Jemma’s life has been turned upside down. She is tirelessly dedicating her time to raising awareness, sharing her story with various media outlets and campaigning as a Young Ambassador for Meningitis Now. Last year Jemma delivered a speech at the Houses of Parliament highlighting the importance of educating students, universities and health care professionals about the vaccine.


SHARING IS CARING!

SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


Proud father Dan created a group of disabled heroes called The Department of Ability to highlight the shocking lack of inclusion for disabled children and young adults across the media industry. The Department of Ability was initially created for Dan’s wheelchair using daughter, Emily, who upon receipt of her first wheelchair was desperate to see relevant, everyday characters like herself in the media she consumed. The comic is due to be published this year worldwide via mainstream publication and has attracted supporters from across the globe. This is an unpaid job with Dan giving up work to concentrate on his family and push the diversity and inclusion agenda. Dan works tirelessly to highlight the issues faced by disabled young people with both him and Emily becoming activists, charity ambassadors and global speakers.


SHARING IS CARING!

SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


Susie has an aggressive form of MS, is a full-time wheelchair user, partially sighted, cannot write or type and struggles to speak. However, combining her passion for travel with her desire to support other wheelchair users, she has devoted huge amounts of her free time setting up wheelchair travel website www.wheelchairworld.org, single-handedly amassing a huge collection of personal wheelchair user reviews, blogs and official resources for 90+ countries. Susie has built relationships with other wheelchair using travellers around the world and raises awareness of her wheelchair travel website through social media, as well as writing numerous articles for newsletters, blogs and other websites. To date, there have been over 12,000 visitors to the website from 130+ countries, totalling more than 36,500 page views. To redevelop the website, Susie has run 2 fundraising campaigns and written various applications for funding.


SHARING IS CARING!

SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


Faye was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 7, it was largely controlled until she fell pregnant with her first baby in October 2014; pregnancy aggravated Faye’s epilepsy and she became really poorly. She found there was very little support for women with epilepsy in pregnancy and created a blog to offer support to women in the same situation, or to those who were thinking of having a family. The blog grew quickly and in the two years since its inception has been viewed over 100,000 times. Its honesty and warmth make it such a brilliant resource for the epilepsy community and has helped to raise awareness of the disorder. Faye also works with medical professionals and represents patients in important clinical forums to improve the care women with epilepsy receive. At a worrying and difficult time, Faye selflessly only thought of others and used her experiences in a very powerful way.


SHARING IS CARING!

James Sutliff

2017 WINNER: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


7 years ago James’ life took a sudden, unexpected change. After a normal night out on the town with friends, James returned home and woke up the next day feeling slightly unwell. Putting this down to a hangover, James took a small nap only to wake up with severely distorted and slurred speech. Overtime the problem worsened and numerous tests could not point to a cause. Six years on there is still no treatment plan, however, in 2012 James was diagnosed with a neurological dysfunction disorder, known as Dystonia. The problem directed to his hands causing a lack of mobility and forcing James to leave his job as a plumber. Fitness became his lifeline and James got into amazing shape and is now a successful personal trainer and disability coach. Gaining an impressive social media following, this remarkable Bodybuilder uses his platform to highlight his hidden disability.


What were your thoughts on the other shortlisted nominees within your category?

I found everyone to have very inspiring stories. The work they put in, deserved to be recognised. In my eyes, everyone was a winner in the category.

What were your thoughts after winning The Positive Role Model Award for Disability?

I was in complete shock, but of course I was so happy. I honestly thought, I had no chance. Its such an amazing feeling, getting the recognition for a rare neurological condition. Also the work I do coaching disability clients, through fitness.

What reaction have you received from supporters/fellow employees since winning the award?

I have a big fan base over social media. So the reaction over all my social media links has been big, supportive, and very overwhelming. I’m being interviewed by the BBC with my wife about winning the award.

Now that you have won a National Diversity Award, what are you going to go from here? What are your next steps?

To keep doing what I’m doing and raising as much awareness for Dystonia. Open my own gym for people with disabilities. Become a worldwide motivational speaker. To hopefully publish my own book on my story to help inspire others, going through tough times.

In your own words, how do you feel the work you are carrying out is making a difference?

I can see I’m making a difference to peoples lives, I receive so many messages weekly, telling me so. From people all around the world in a similar position as myself. It’s just not from people who have Dystonia, but from people who have all different types of disabilities.

Why do you think it is important to highlight Diversity, Equality and Inclusion?

Because the world is made up of so many different people. The more diversity, equality and inclusion is shouted about. The more it is accepted in today’s society.

Who or What is your inspiration?

People who are going through difficult times with their disability. But they get on with their lives, not letting it stop them, from reaching their goals and dreams.

What were your thoughts on The National Diversity Awards Ceremony? Did you enjoy your evening?

I think the whole event is amazing. I found it all very overwhelming, in a good way. So many inspirational individuals under one roof. One of my best evening in my entire life. I would love to be involved again in the awards in the near future.

SHARING IS CARING!

Mikey Akers

SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


16 year old Mikey was diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia (a neurological speech condition) when he was two and a half years old. It’s a condition which affects 1-2 people per 1000, and makes it difficult to produce the precise movements required for speech. Learning to talk is a very slow process and those affected need to pronounce a word correctly 1000 times before it comes naturally. When Mikey was 13 he wrote a poem called ‘I am the Boy’. The poem led to Mikey creating Mikey’s Wish, a small charitable cause that raises awareness of the condition as well as funds to support children who learn differently. Mikey has donated funds to the Dyspraxia Foundation and £1,000 to his local primary school, which helped four pupils gain access to speech therapy. Last year, he was awarded the Young Achiever Award at the Pride of Birmingham Awards.


SHARING IS CARING!

SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


A former primary school teacher with Asperger Syndrome, Chris Bonnello is now a nationwide speaker and tutor for autistic students who are outside of the education system. After leaving mainstream teaching Chris launched Autistic Not Weird (http://autisticnotweird.com) and its associated Facebook community, with the intention of sharing his insight about autism from both a personal and professional perspective. He discusses autism and Asperger’s with eager enthusiasm, and is honest about difficult topics including his mental health history and challenges he faced while growing up. His website has reached over 1,200,000 page views in its first two years, and 63,000 people have joined his community on Facebook. Chris is also now a published author: his first book, “What We Love Most About Life: insights from 150 young people across the autism spectrum” sold over 1,200 copies on its first run.


SHARING IS CARING!

SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: 

POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AWARD FOR DISABILITY –


Natasha is a 22 year old Elite Disability Gymnast. On May 27th 2013, her life changed forever when she went into anaphylactic shock. 4 years, 250+ epipens and multiple intensive care admissions later, Natasha has been diagnosed with a rare life threatening condition called Mast Cell Activation (MCAS); causing her to live in a constant state of allergic reaction. Despite this, Natasha trains and competes as a gymnast.

Since starting disability gymnastics in November 2014 she has won 19 British titles, been ranked number one for three years running and was named Inspiring Young Woman of the Year 2015. Natasha is a patron of Birtenshaw, a Charity based in Bolton for children and adults with Special Education Needs and Disabilities. She also volunteers regularly for Scope and Mast Cell Action, helping to raise awareness of MCAS and change people’s perceptions of disability.


SHARING IS CARING!

National Diversity Awards

Copyrights © 2019 National Diversity Awards / All Rights Reserved

Web Design by Marketing Originals