North East Connected

Schoolgirl Jodie given Diana Award for caring for auntie battling cancer

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 16.12.55Caring schoolgirl Jodie Mills has received a top accolade in the name of Princess Diana for her devotion to her auntie while she bravely battled terminal cancer.

The 14-year-old regularly travelled by coach from her Newcastle home to Edinburgh on a six-and-a-half hour round trip to spend time with her auntie Susan Brady.

Jodie would help with household chores and spend time with Susan, cheering her up with her positive, upbeat attitude to life.

Tragically, Susan died in July aged just 43. But such was Jodie’s touching devotion to her that she was nominated by her school Excelsior Academy in Newcastle for a prestigious Diana Award.

The schoolgirl collected her ‘Diana Champion Award’ at a ceremony at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park with a glowing citation of her care given to the audience.

The Diana Award is a legacy to the Princess of Wales’ belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. The awards have the support of Princes William and Harry and aim to inspire and recognise social action in young people.

Jodie’s Diana Award citation said: “Jodie is a truly inspirational young lady. On a regular basis, Jodie would travel a six-and-a-half hour round trip to visit her aunt.

“While there, Jodie would help with household chores and would spend time with aunt Susan, trying to cheer her up.

“Despite this responsibility Jodie took upon herself, she still remained positive. She ensured her school work was always completed.”

Jodie gained a valuable insight into the work of the MacMillan Cancer Support nurses during her time caring for her aunt – entering their ‘Brave the Shave’ campaign in the summer, having her long hair clipped close to her head to raise money for the charity.

“I did the ‘Brave the Shave’ for my auntie who I loved so much and who had cancer,” said Jodie, who more than doubled her original target of £100 by raising £205.

“I know I am only 14 but I wanted to show her how much she meant to me.

“She meant the world to me and I want to help as many people as I can so no other family has to go through this.

“With this donation I can get more nurses to help people suffering this illness.”

Her dad Garry cut off her pony tail, cut the rest of her hair and then took a further 20 minutes to shave it close to her head.

“My friends all said well done,” said Jodie. “I don’t think I’ll keep my hair short though.

“I don’t think my dad will get a job as a barber.”

Phil Marshall, Excelsior Academy Executive Principal, said: “We are all so proud of Jodie and the way she took it upon herself to travel and care for her auntie. Her Diana Award is wonderful recognition of an exceptional girl.”

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