An inspirational man born with brittle bone disease has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Stuart Thompson, from Mersea, is one of eight finalists in with a chance of winning the Positive Role Model Award for Disability at the National Diversity Awards.
Community organisations and role models from across the country will head to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on September 14 to see the winners crowned.
Mr Thompson, 42, said: “I am immensely flattered to have been shortlisted for this award, in particular for the work I do with young people and adults with anxiety.
“As a person who has faced many physical challenges who has grown up looking very different to those around me, I know how hard it can be to feel confident and not be afraid.
“I hope this nomination allows me to reach more people and demonstrate how it’s possible to live with confidence.”
Stuart was born with brittle bone disease, a life-limiting disability which has caused him to break almost every bone in his body at some point.
He is three and a half feet tall and uses a wheelchair.
He said: “As a child something would break simply by being picked up by my parents or when I was sitting on the floor.
“Now as an adult I probably break a bone about five times a year.
“As a child it was fine as I didn’t know I was any different, but as an adult I had to learn to find my own voice.”
Stuart started his career as a social worker and now works as a hypnotherapist and anxiety specialist.
He chooses to work mostly with children and young people experiencing anxiety or confidence issues.
He said: “You find confidence within yourself when you realise you have something worth saying.
“We can overcome how we look and how we feel.”
He received more than 40 nominations for the award, all from clients.
He added: “A lot of parents wrote nice things about work I have done with their children, the youngest being six.
“I don’t believe children need endless therapy, and most anxieties can be overcome with a few techniques.”
Johnson & Johnson have recently been announced as headline sponsors of the pioneering awards.
Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s continue to gain endorsements from high profile figures such as Stephen Fry, Sir Lenny Henry CBE and Graham Norton.
Radio 2 presenter and Scissor Sister favourite Ana Matronic will host this year’s ceremony alongside television presenter Brian Dowling.
To view a full list of nominees visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/shortlist.
Source: Gazette News