579. Caroline Star
Caroline’s daughter was diagnosed with CMV at 8 weeks old. Although relatively common, she discovered that there was little public awareness of this dangerous disease that causes permanent disabilities in 1 in 1000 new born children in the UK.
Caroline, who is a Civil Servant at the Department for Education, joined CMV Action, taking over as Chair in 2013. Under her leadership, the charity has considerably extended its reach. It now supports 500 families a year, has developed training for the Royal College of Midwives which has been undertaken by hundreds of midwives and supports research into the virus itself.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“For the thousands of civil servants who generously give their time and share their skills with good causes, volunteering is a natural extension of their dedication to public service. Despite a busy career at the Department for Education, Caroline’s exceptional volunteering has seen her take over the Chair of CMV Action and significantly step up its influence and activities. I’m delighted to recognise her service with this Point of Light award.”
“I’m thrilled to accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers at CMV Action striving to raise awareness of CMV – one of the leading causes of childhood disability in the UK.
“The CMV virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. It is more common than Down’s syndrome or toxoplasmosis and damages 2 to 3 babies born every day in the UK. It can cause mental and physical disabilities and it devastates lives. We want to see every pregnant woman equipped with knowledge of how CMV is spread and how to reduce these risks – following some simple hygiene precautions in pregnancy can make all the difference.
“As a mum of a child affected by CMV, I’m delighted to have the Prime Minster join us in talking about CMV.”