Earlier this year she was honoured by Prince Charles for the way she had turned around her life to become a successful businesswoman.
Now Claire Bradwell is one of five finalists in next month’s Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards in recognition of her achievements after battling cancer and other serious health problems.
She is in the running for The Prince’s Trust award, which honours exceptional young people who have been helped by the youth charity.
The 30-year-old, of Wadsley, designed a specialist chair to help children with hip problems, which is now being sold around the world.
She was inspired by her daughter, Daisy, who was born with an abnormal formation in the hip joint which meant she had trouble sitting in her high chair.
Claire came up with the solution - a type of rocking chair in the shape of a jelly baby - during a long recuperation after a hysterectomy. The operation followed a history of health issues.
Aged 17, she was distraught to be told she would never have children - only to give birth to twin boys, David and Michael, five years later. When they were three, she was told she had early stage cervical cancer. “I was sick with worry and it was, without doubt, one of the darkest periods of my life,” she said.
The cancer was removed, and during her treatment, the unexpected happened again. Claire was pregnant a second time. Along came Daisy, who born with hip dysplasia, which requires an operation and a cast to immobilise the hip as it heals.
Worn down by the emotional stress, Claire was then told she needed a hysterectomy, ending up in intensive care for over two weeks with internal bleeding.
But she refused to give in. She joined a Prince’s Trust course which helps young people to start in business, wrote her business plan and took the Hip-Rocker to market. It is also suitable for children with other conditions, such as cerebral palsy.
Now Claire is a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador. She also has a full-time job with charity Groundwork, helping young people to set up social enterprises or become self-employed.
Being a finalist in Pride of Britain was “completely overwhelming. It’s difficult to put into words, in a space of six months I went from not knowing if I was going to live or die and leave three young children, to running my own business and helping other parents with my products. Without The Prince’s Trust, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I can’t thank them enough.”