Grandmother awarded for supporting family facing illness

Kara Powell
Kara Powell

A caring grandmother from Kempston has won a national award in recognition of the help she gives her family.

Kara Powell has won the award from charity Contact a Family for her tireless efforts to care for her four-year-old disabled grandson Shayne and support for the rest of her family.

Kara Powell

Kara Powell

Kara, who was nominated by her sister Melissa, received the top grandparent award at a ceremony organised by the charity at Speakers House at the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday, January 24.

Melissa said: “Kara’s daughter Kirstie is epileptic and fell pregnant on Epilim, an anti-convulsant medicine, which caused Shayne to be born with valproate syndrome, a rare severely disabling condition. Kara is the main carer for Shayne. He needs round the clock care and spends a huge amount of time at Great Ormond Street or Bedford hospitals, where she is always by his side. As well as this, her youngest daughter Stacie was recently diagnosed with diabetes and her husband Les is also diabetic.

“How she holds that family together is beyond me. Yet she still balances everything. On top of that, she is also still there for me and my children. She’s first to offer help and stretches herself without breaking. To be honest grandparent award isn’t enough, she deserves them all.”

Minister for Disabled Children, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, presented Kara with her award and said: “These awards provide an opportunity to recognise the families of disabled children for their tireless support and selfless generosity.

“I’d like to personally congratulate Kara on her award and hope they realise not just how much they are valued by their loved one, but wider society: we are so proud of you and thank you for all you do.”

Contact a Family’s award ceremony was attended by about 70 families with disabled children, 30 MPs and was hosted by BBC Radio 4’s Jane Garvey.

The awards were set up by Contact a Family - the national charity that supports families with disabled children whatever their disability or medical condition - to celebrate the countless things UK families do when caring for disabled children. Visit