Angel Farley, 15, who lives with her family just outside Sittingbourne, has been shortlisted for the award of Positive Role Model at the National Diversity Awards.
Angel was born with two rare disabilities – Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency and Sacral Agenesis. As a result, Angel’s lower spine has not formed correctly, she is missing her right femur bone and has no right hip socket. She has undergone many operations and uses walking sticks or a wheelchair to get about.
Her experience in the lead up to, and after, her operations inspired Angel to give something back, as she explains, “In my village, there was a time when it felt like everyone knew me and, importantly, was there for me. Especially through my operations and recovery, I had lots of personal messages and texts – people I didn’t even know stopped me in the street to wish me well and keep me motivated.”
“Words are everything”
Angel found those words uplifting and inspired her to respond in kind. Since 2017, she has written Christmas Cards for everyone in her local community, recalling how others’ words brought happiness to her. This is no small task, and she finds herself writing 1,500 cards each year! Angel continues her story, “Words are everything. They really helped me when I needed it and I want to now use words and cards to help others. It’s my way of giving back.”
Making people smile
The whole process starts straight after Christmas when Angel looks to buy as many cards as she can afford in the January sales. She then gets more each month throughout the year until early September. This is when the arduous task of handwriting all those cards begins: luckily her sister Mikayla helps her. Whilst it is a challenge for Angel, it is one she willingly embraces, knowing how important it is: “Christmas is a time for giving, not receiving. I like to give people a smile! I know that not everyone enjoys Christmas: people may be unwell, lonely, or struggling. So, if someone shows a little caring and kindness that goes a long way.”
Christmas Card Delivery
Angel and her family – mum and dad Holly and Rob, plus younger sisters Mikayla, Tia, and Sienna - start the task of visiting every house near where she lives on the first Friday evening in December. The process isn’t completed until the end of the Tuesday, with the family having delivered cards for up to three hours every evening.
Those delivery walks aren’t the end of Angel’s efforts. Since 2018, again accompanied by her family, she has participated in sponsored walks, raising money for multiple charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital, Disablement Centre at Medway Hospital, NHS Charities and Spread a Smile. Angel is already planning a sponsored walk next year to raise money for the Make A Wish foundation. Angel beams as she says, “They made my wish come true two years ago – I stayed at the Shangri-La suite at The Shard and had the best time.”
This is all the more incredible and inspirational as a little later this year Angel is having her other leg amputated. But she remains fiercely determined to complete her sponsored walk.
Angel must now wait until the National Diversity Awards in Liverpool on September 15th to find out if she has won her award category. Angel’s mum, Holly, explains where she is now, “I nominated Angel for the National Diversity Award as I know how hard she works and how much she is loved locally. I’m really pleased that Angel’s generosity and kindness have been recognised by the judges. But I still can’t believe that she has got through to the finals and we’ll soon be going to Liverpool for the National Diversity Awards event. It’ll be Angel, her Nan and me – we can’t wait!
“Angel is a great positive role model and really makes people feel better and happier. She is making a huge difference to other people and if even more people can see what she’s doing that will really make her efforts worthwhile.”
“Angel stood out as a wonderful young role model whose generosity towards others is admirable,” says Paul Sesay, CEO of Inclusive Companies which runs the National Diversity Awards. “Her positivity, despite her own challenges, combined with her desire to put a smile on other people’s faces is fantastic to see and she is very deserving of being shortlisted for this Award. I shall look forward to meeting Angel at the Awards and hope she and her family enjoy a magical evening of celebration.”
“The best feeling!”
As for anyone else who is thinking about giving back to their community or supporting others, Angel says: “Just go for it – you never know what might happen. It’s not about getting anything back – you’ll know you’ve done something nice for someone else and that’s the best feeling.”
We will be wishing Angel every success at the National Diversity Awards and as she continues to gather in Christmas Cards ready to write. If you can help Angel by donating some cards for her Christmas quest, please contact Katherine@prworkshop.co.uk.
Find out more about the National Diversity Awards at: www.inclusivecompanies.co.uk
Media contact for further information: Katherine@prworkshop.co.uk / 07787 533143