24 September 2014

'Triumph In Adversity' Awards

As I'm sure many others have done, I have in the past attended funerals or read obituraries online, and heard amazing things about the deceased. I've also too often heard the regret of their family and friends that they didn't tell their loved one those things while they were alive. I don't think we should wait until someone dies before we say how amazing they are!

For a long time I have wished that I could nominate various people for some kind of national hero/bravery/courage award, but many of the people I would want to nominate would not be physically able to attend such awards. There's also the issue that many of my online friends live in different countries and I don't know which awards are given in each country; not to mention that I find it difficult cognitively to fill in those sorts of forms, and I've never heard back from any of the nominations I have done! Whilst writing my recent 'Do Not Go Gentle' post, an idea blossomed in my brain, and this post is the result.

In my post about carers I said that carers "are true heroes, and they deserve the highest honour their country could bestow... carers are incredible, wonderful, brave people who deserve our gratitude and respect, but who are all too often disregarded as the needs of the 'ill one' take precedence. They frequently bear an unimaginably heavy weight of responsibility and emotion; it's a thankless task, and they do it by choice. To all my family and friends, and especially to my long-suffering husband, THANK YOU. Those words seem so inadequate, but they are all I have. Thank you. Each and every one of you is a hero and you deserve a medal."

And in my recent post 'Do Not Go Gentle',  I talked about "very severely sick people who struggle on behind closed doors each day, who don't give up the fight, whose spirits - though wounded - are unbroken. For many, just continuing to breathe is a harder feat than climbing the highest mountain - and they do it hour after hour, day after day. That is strength, that is determination, that is resilience. That is inspiring... People with ME, especially those with very severe ME, fight at least as hard as athletes, but their achievements are measured on a totally different scale, and there are no medals hanging round their necks. But just because their achievements are measured in millimetres rather than miles doesn't make them any less noteworthy; perhaps the opposite... To all the ME warriors out there, especially the very severe, and including their carers: I salute you. You triumph daily at your own personal Invictus Games. Your endurance, fighting spirit, and perseverance are incredible. If I could give you each a thousand medals I would, and you would deserve every single one. You rage against the dying of the light each day and strive to live life as fully as you can; you are a huge inspiration to me. Thank you."

So I've been trying to think how I can honour some of these people, how to let them know how amazing I think they are. And I've come up with the idea of the 'Do Not Go Gentle' Triumph in Adversity Awards:

(If you want to know why it's called the 'Do Not Go Gentle' award, read the 'Do Not Go Gentle' blog post which explains about a couple of poems that have inspired me.)

There's no ceremony, no glittering trophy, no prize; it's just a graphic, just one person saying to another that they are amazing. I have lots of people in mind to give one of these to, but I truly hope others will take this up and award them to people they know, too.

The recipients don't have to be people with ME; they can be anyone who has gone through any kind of tough time, who inspires you. It can be as public or as private as you want; you can make it known on this blog, their blog or your own (if you/they have one), or on facebook or wherever (as long as you think the recipient would be ok with it being publicly visible; this is about honouring not embarrassing people), or it can be completely secret between you and the other person.

I intend to give my online awards with an image of a bouquet of flowers; if you are giving an award to someone you have contact with offline, maybe you could give them a real bouquet, or a card telling them what you think of them, or a cake, or whatever, it's totally up to you. If you are very ill and doing anything extra is beyond your limitations, don't worry! It truly is the thought that counts.

So, how does it work? Well I'm kind of figuring this out as I go along! But here's what I've thought of so far:

How to give someone an award:
  • Who to choose: anyone who you think should have one! Anyone who is (or has been) going through a tough time, who inspires you with their courage and perseverance. You can give this award to as many or as few people as you like, and it doesn't matter if someone has already been given an award by someone else.
  • If because of illness you are unable to give an award, you can tell me about the person you have chosen, and I will give them an online award on your behalf when I am up to doing so. 
    • Please only ask me to do it if you really can't do it yourself! If I am flooded with requests I may have to re-think this option. And please be patient with me if I am unable to respond to you and/or give the award for a while. 
    • To ask me to give an award on your behalf, comment in the comments section at the end of this post; if you don't want it to be publicly visible, type "Do not publish on blog" at the top of your comment.
    • If your comment is not for publishing on the blog, please include your email address and I will get back to you as soon as I am able. 
    • Please tell me the recipient's real or online username; the name they know you by; a message explaining why you have chosen them (remember not to give any personal details that they would not want publicly known); and tell me how to find them (a link if possible, or an email address).
  • If you are able to give the award yourself, download the image of the award, and also, if you want, download the image of the bouquet. To download an image, right click on it and select 'save image' (or however your computer words it).
  • Give the image(s) to the recipient, along with a message to them saying why you are giving them the award. You could post this publicly on social media (if you're sure the recipient would be ok with that), or in a private message, or email, or MMS message on your phone, or print it out and stick it in a card, or upload it to an online personalised card printer such as www.funkypigeon.com or www.moonpig.com - whatever you want. Alternatively, copy this link and send it to them with a message to them saying why you are giving them the award: http://cheeringfromsidelines.blogspot.com/2014/09/recipients-of-triumph-in-adversity-awards.html
  • If you and the recipient are both happy, I would love to know who has given and received awards; if you would like to share this with me, please comment in the comments section below. If you don't want it to be publicly visible, type "Do not publish on blog" at the top of your comment. (If it's not for publishing on the blog, and if you want a reply from me, please include an email address, but be aware that I cannot guarantee to reply depending on my health and on how many other messages I get.)

I really hope the recipients of these awards are encouraged and blessed by them - but that can only happen if people choose others to receive them, so get nominating! Thank you so much for participating!


I'd love to hear what you think! Do leave a comment if you have anything you'd like to say about this topic. If you have any difficulty with this process, please see the Site Help page. Please bear with me if it takes a while for me to respond; I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my blog, but I'm not always well enough to reply. Thank you :-)


Rachel said...

Well, my first award has been given, to Brooke of http://documentingme.net, who is a HUGE inspiration to me. I cannot imagine what she's going through and the whirlwind of conflicting emotions, but through all of that she's done SO MUCH for other people and for the current and future ME community, and her love for life shines through. She is amazing. Thank you for being you, Brooke x

Rachel said...

My second award goes individually and jointly to Greg and Linda Crowhurst of Stonebird (http://www.stonebird.co.uk) and Holy Way (www.holyway.co.uk). As I've written in the comments on this post on the Holy Way blog: http://www.holyway.co.uk/archive/to-dare-is-to-live, "This post exemplifies the reason I want to give the two of you, as individuals and as a couple, a 'Do Not Go Gentle ~ Triumph In Adversity' Award. (See http://cheeringfromsidelines.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/recipients-of-triumph-in-adversity-awards.html) You are both amazing. If I had to choose one word to describe you it would be 'vitality', which I appreciate is kind of ironic for you, Linda, because I'm guessing you've not physically felt anything approaching vitality for a very long time. But love and life and passion shine through you both. You are beautiful beautiful people. On top of that, your advocacy and determination to change the ME world for the better is phenomenal, and the resources you have produced have improved the lives of many many people. You are both awesome. You dare to live, love, believe, dream, hope, challenge - the list goes on. You inspire me, and I have no doubt you inspire many others too. Thank you both."

Dr Speedy said...

Congrat Greg and Linda.