Vikki George honoured by Prime Minister for charity work | Leatherhead Advertiser | 25 December 2014

From the Leatherhead Advertiser, 25 December 2014

A BEDBOUND woman from Bookham whose illness inspired her to start a charity bringing joy to hundreds of sick children has received an award from the Prime Minister on her 30th birthday.

Vikki George was named a Point of Light by David Cameron on Sunday in recognition of her charity Post Pals, which endeavours to cheer up seriously ill children with cards, letters and gifts.

The 30-year-old’s achievements are all the more poignant given her diagnosis with severe myalgic encephalomyelitis, commonly known as ME, at the age of 17.

The condition has, over the past five years, affected her ability to walk, talk or even lift her head.

Vikki, of Strathcona Avenue, said: “I was completely shocked when I found out I had won a Point of Light award and feel very honoured. You don’t expect to get a letter from the Prime Minister on your birthday.

“Post Pals relies entirely on people’s kindness, from the people who help keep it running to those who log on and send a card and I’m always amazed at how kind people are.

“Making the children smile is a huge reward as it is but a Point of Light award has given me a real boost and hopefully more people can be inspired to make a difference.”

The Point of Light award recognises “outstanding individual volunteers” and a single recipient is chosen by the Prime Minister every day.

Vikki was inspired to start Post Pals in 2002 when she realised her “only comfort” from her condition would come from in the form of the cards she received from the Association for Young People with ME.

Also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, ME is a “serious condition that causes long-term illness and disability”, according to the ME Association.

Most cases are mild or moderate, but up to one in four people, such as Vikki, can develop severe symptoms where basic activities such as eating or talking can leave the person exhausted.

Speaking after announcing her as a recipient of the award, Mr Cameron said: “Vikki’s determination and tenacity are inspirational.

“She has continued to bring joy to very sick children for many years despite having to manage her own condition.”

Having spent every birthday since her diagnosis in bed, Vikki has created a “30 things before 30” list for people to do on her behalf, with half of the tasks already completed.

Among the simpler things on Vikki’s wishlist is for someone to join the bone marrow register, volunteer at a care home or hospital and give a flower to a stranger.

To find out more about Vikki’s list, or to take part, visit www.my30wishes.blogspot.co.uk

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