Angelman Syndrome Awareness-raiser
1858. Melissa McComas
Melissa McComas, aged 18, from St Helens, is dedicated to raising awareness of Angelman Syndrome, a rare condition she is diagnosed with which causes severe physical and mental disabilities.
Angelman Syndrome is a condition which affects the nervous system, causing severe physical and learning difficulties. Melissa struggles with her balance and movement and has leg splints to help align her limbs and prevent any joint and knee pain, as well as degeneration. She also suffers from epilepsy, cannot speak, and needs 24-hour care for the rest of her life. Undaunted by her condition, Melissa is dedicated to showcasing what young people with Angelman are still capable of achieving, taking on challenges such as a climb of Mount Snowdon in her wheelchair shortly after her 18th birthday. She has also developed a social media following of over 25,000 people, using this to promote awareness of the condition, spread positivity, and fundraise in support of people with Angelman.
In a personal letter to Melissa, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Your positive messages are a fantastic way of promoting awareness of Angelman Syndrome. I was astonished to hear that your social media following has reached over 25,000 people.
“I also want to congratulate you on climbing Mount Snowdon in your wheelchair. Your endurance and resilience are an inspiration to us all.”
Melissa’s mother Kathryn said:
“Melissa was very excited when I told her she was going to receive an award. She loves to help fundraise to support good causes and to raise awareness of Angelman Syndrome. I know she will use the award to further her campaign to help raise the profile of Angelman Syndrome and to educate more people and to encourage others to never give up try to achieve more.”