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An inspirational Derby teenager who lost her limbs after a battle with meningitis will tonight be handed a prestigious national award.
Trampolinist Isabelle Weall, from Oakwood, will pick up her Pride of Sport Awards at a glittering event at Grosvenor House in London’s Park Lane.
The 15-year-old has won the Young Achiever category at the ceremony which recognises and celebrates the unsung heroes of grassroots sport.
And not only is the brave teen’s talents as a trampolinist being noted but also her inspiration to other young people through her own YouTube channel proving the old adage that if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything.
(Image: Ian Hodgkinson)
The judges of the TSB-sponsored national award said: “Isabelle is such a determined young woman, and her spirit and positivity really shine through. She is absolutely inspirational.”
Isabelle fell victim to meningitis when she was aged six. She was rushed to hospital, and her mum and dad were warned she may not survive.
Mum Catherine said: “It was so quick. She went to school that day and she got sent home ill at 11am. We called an ambulance at 8.30pm and she was taken to a Derby hospital.
“She was then transferred to a Nottingham hospital, and her heart actually stopped in the ambulance. She had total organ failure and we were told she would die.”
Isabelle fought back but surgeons had to amputate both her arms and legs, and she spent two months in hospital recovering.
She had to rely on a wheelchair for the next eight months before she was fitted with prosthetics, and faced a struggle simply to learn to walk again.
Catherine said: “We were sure she would never walk, but she was so determined. When she was given her legs she got straight up and started walking right away.”
Eight years on, Isabelle, is a happy and confident teenager, who is also well on her way to becoming one of the UK’s most accomplished junior gymnasts.
She is widely recognised as one of the most talented young trampolinists in the country, despite barely having stepped on a trampoline before her illness.
She won the disability category at the national schools championships with a spellbinding routine that left those watching, both in the arena and at home on social media, in no doubt about her talent or determination.
And she is doing all she can to inspire others - both on and off the springs.
(Image: Ian Hodgkinson)
She has recently launched her own YouTube channel in a bid to convey her inspirational message to millions of young people who face challenges in their own lives.
Isabelle said: “You should always give something you want to do a go. You can’t just sit down and think ‘what if I can, what if I can’t’, you have to try it out.”
The awards, which are backed by Sport England, honour people who have gone the extra mile to help others achieve their goals, and those who have triumphed against adversity.
Famous faces from across the world of sport and showbiz will be in attendance for tonight’s ceremony hosted by Ben Shephard, including Greg Rutherford, Louis Smith, Dame Kelly Holmes, Jermaine Defoe, Mark Foster, Becky Adlington, Amber Davies, Vicky Pattinson, and Kym Marsh.
Host Ben Shephard said: “Grassroots sport brings people together and represents so many of the things we love about this country.
“We all start somewhere, whether that’s children taking up a sport, or someone who hasn’t exercised for years taking their first steps towards getting fit, and these awards celebrate the amazing people who make that possible.”
Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England, said: “We want everyone, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity, and the unsung heroes honoured in these awards are the people who help make this happen across the country week in, week out.
"Whether it’s as volunteers running clubs and coaching, or as participants inspiring others by way they push themselves to overcome barriers, they all thoroughly deserve this recognition.”
Paul Pester, chief executive officer of TSB, said “Pride of Sport recognises those that transform the lives of individuals and communities through the power of sport. It celebrates those from the grassroots of sport who’ve achieved something extraordinary for themselves, for the people around them, and for their communities. I never fail to be inspired and moved by the remarkable and inspirational stories that each of the nominees have.”