A YOUNG March woman living with a painful medical condition has been nominated for an award after returning to education and making a documentary to raise awareness of her illness.
Gabriella Wheeler (20), of Cavalry Drive, dropped out of school at the age of 14 after struggling to cope with the pain of her condition – recently diagnosed as Fibromyalgia – and low self esteem from dyslexia.
She was put forward for the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Young People of the Year awards (YOPEY) by her tutor at Peterborough Regional College, where Gabriella is studying media.
Steph Ward, a personal learning coach at the college, said: “She has worked so hard to achieve her goals overcoming all the obstacles in her way. She is an inspirational young lady.”
Gabriella has nearly finished a documentary on Fibromyalgia, an incurable condition that results in pain all over the body and extreme tiredness.
She said: “Although you can’t see it, I have a lot of fatigue and pain and it’s hard to get medical support as many doctors don’t recognise it.
“I suffer from headaches, sickness, pain and dizziness on a daily basis and take high doses of painkillers and sleeping tablets to manage it.”
In addition to her documentary, Gabriella is involved with organising an awareness day with the March Fibromyalgia support group, which will be held in West End Park in September.
Pam Stewart, chair of the Fibromyalgia Association, said the work being done by Gabriella was very impressive and could potentially help thousands of people, as they would no longer have to suffer alone.
All YOPEY prizes are shared with the community. So the Cambs Young Person of the Year will win £800 – £400 for themselves and £400 for their good cause. The total prize pot is over £2,000.
To nominate someone aged between 10 and 25 for a YOPEY award, visit www.yopey.org or write to YOPEY, PO Box 236, Newmarket, CB8 1DP for paper entry form. Entries close on August 31.
n The March support group usually meets at the library.
For more information, contact the library in the first instance.