A Sheffield mum who founded a charity helping sufferers of epilepsy and their families has won a mum of the year award.
Sandra Howard, aged 60, will be presented with her charitable mum award at a ceremony at London’s The Savoy Hotel on Sunday, March 1.
The awards, now in their 10th year, celebrate ordinary mums who do extraordinary things.
Sandra’s eldest son Gareth has suffered from epilepsy since birth.
Nineteen years ago, she began fundraising to have a procedure for Gareth to have a vagus nerve stimulator fitted.
Sandra, of Walkley, said: “The NHS couldn’t fund the purchase of the implant, but would carry out the procedure if we could get it.
“After months of hard work, trying every way to raise money, we finally had the £5,500 we needed – but then the American manufacturers heard of our efforts and gave us the implant for nothing.”
After an operation which improved Gareth’s condition, Sandra used the money she had raised to found the charity Fable – For A Better Life With Epilepsy.
Since then, Sandra has helped raise almost £3.5 million and helped fund more than 50 VNS treatments along with being indirectly responsible for a further 1,500 procedures.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the awards, Tesco is donating £5,000 to a charity of each winning mum’s choice.
Sandra said: “Last year, we launched the Fable Wishes and Dreams project, which funds adventures and special days for epilepsy sufferers. The money will allow us to make more dreams become a reality.”
Her story was selected by the judging panel from thousands of nominations from across the UK.