My New Year’s Honours: To Leah Graham.
Admittedly, I failed completely at providing twelve days of posts. The festive period is always hectic and I happen to have my birthday inconveniently sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s. But there’s one post that I really wanted to end this year on, which I have endeavoured to do.
31/12/13. MOST INSPIRING FIGURE(s)
Leah Graham (& her family)
When I first thought of doing a twelve day countdown, I immediately thought of including an award for someone who had inspired me this year. Now, there have been many amazing women, and some men too, that have said things or done things that made them notable. Initially I wanted to write this post about Malala Yousazai, for she is a truly inspirational figure who is hopefully going to spearhead human rights campaigns and the fight for girls education for an entire generation.
Whilst Malala caught the attention of the world and has inspired millions of people, I wanted to end on a more personal special mention. This year, in a quiet corner of Oxfordshire, a fighting princess also managed to capture attention and hearts, and touched innumerable lives.
Born with cystic fibrosis, Leah Graham had the odds stacked up against her, but this was something you wouldn’t have noticed. She was one of the most beautiful girls you’d see, always smiling and an unstoppable force; she did what she wanted and the cystic fibrosis just had to deal with it. Having lived in the same area and attended the same schools, I’ve always known her family, what always seemed remarkable to me was how loving the family is; they’re a unit of affection, friendly to all, generous and truly kind. It’s a type of humanity that is rare to come across but affects you deeply. Even when Leah’s family were in a dark place, and Leah’s fight was getting harder, they still offered support to others, and just generally emanated love and care.
This year, Leah’s battle kicked up a notch. Despite fighting courageously, Leah lost her war. Yet she has left behind a legacy, and from the local media attention to the messages on social media site, it is amazing to see what an enormous impact this fighter princess has left. And most inspiring perhaps is the way the community was united in her memory, the way her family has stayed so strong, yet also manage to offer help to anyone else in need. Without a doubt, Leah Graham was a greatly inspiring girl and we’d all do well to take a leaf out of her book.
Leah had said 2014 would be her year, so if everyone reading this could try channel just a fraction of her spirit and her family’s kindness, the world in 2014 would be an enormously better place for it.