Sponsored by Barr Ellison LLP
Gwenda Gage, 76, was given the Carer of the Year award, sponsored by Barr Ellison LLP at the Headway Annual Awards.
The glittering ceremony was held at The Dorchester Hotel, in London, on Friday 7 December.
Double-Olympic gold medallist and Headway Vice President James Cracknell presented her with the award, recognising her ongoing care for son and her selfless desire to help others, including her local group Headway Bristol.
In 1994, Gwenda’s son Steven sustained a traumatic brain injury when he was forced to jump from a fourth floor of a burning building after waking up in the night to find he had no other means of escape.
Steven's brain injury has affected his emotions and he now lacks insight on how his often difficult behaviour impacts on Gwenda.
Despite this, she is a huge support to him both practically and emotionally, which is especially remarkable since she permanently needs to carry around an oxygen tank to help her manage her inflammation of the lungs.
Battling all this she supports him to live alone in a property 15 miles away.
She also supports him with attending medical appointments, helps him to manage his finances and contacts the local authority on Steven’s behalf with housing issues when he becomes overwhelmed.
Steven calls Gwenda regularly when he is feeling stressed and she is always at the end of the phone to support him.
In recent months, Steven has had to vacate his property for a number of months with the possibility of being housed in a hostel.
Gwenda, who used to work as a nurse, did not want this to happen and accommodated him in her bungalow, despite only having one bedroom and suffering her own health problems.
Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, said: “Gwenda is an incredible mother. She has shown unfaltering love in the face of incredible adversity – even neglecting her own health at times in order to put Steven’s needs first.
“She has given her son constant love and support in what must have been an incredibly tough few years – both physically and emotionally.
“She is also a very valuable member of Headway Bristol and is always keen to help other carers going through similar problems. She is a very worthy winner of this award.”Back