Sixth Former Jessica Grieveson-Smith has been honoured with a national award for raising awareness of epilepsy.
Jessica, 17, who has lived with the condition since she was 11, was invited to a star-studded awards ceremony at London’s City Hall, knowing only that she had been nominated for one of the Young Epilepsy charity’s Champion Awards 2014.
At the event she was stunned to hear her name read out as winner of the Next plc Young Star Award, for ‘helping others understand epilepsy and for her determination to raise money through extreme challenges’.
“I was overwhelmed to get the award. To meet others with epilepsy and hear their stories was really inspiring,” said Jessica.
She was presented with her award by EastEnders actress Maddy Hill and then had to make an off-the-cuff acceptance speech.
“It was a fantastic night and amazing to meet sportsmen and actors who have achieved so much and understand the condition.” Other star guests included Martin Kemp, James Cracknell and GB cyclist Becky James.
Jessica is one of a team of KJS students who are tackling a World Challenge expedition to Madagascar next summer, which involves a rainforest trek, riverboat expedition and volunteer project.
“I want to prove to myself that I can do something as big as this,” said Jessica. “I mentioned it in my speech at the awards ceremony and afterwards several people gave me money towards it, around £150 altogether, which was amazing.”