Call for Islanders to recognise Jersey’s inspiring children with a Pride nomination

Jessie Gallay with her mother Vicky Barratt

A TEENAGER whose confidence and self-esteem surged after she was crowned Child of the Year at the JEP’s 2017 Pride of Jersey Awards has called on Islanders to nominate inspiring children in the hope they could benefit as well.

Jessie Gallay, now aged 19, was recognised for her determination and courage in dealing with Crohn’s disease. Just months after receiving the award, her condition became life threatening and required her to have major surgery to remove her large bowel and replace it with a colostomy bag.

Despite the challenges, Jessie has now finished college and is due to head off to university in September to study sport science and hopefully progress on to primary school teaching.

And she is due to complete a skydive to raise awareness of an illness that has dominated her life and show that having a disability does not need to hold you back.

Her mother, Vicky Barratt, said the Pride of Jersey award had boosted her daughter’s self-esteem and confidence and helped her to face the continuing battle for her health.

And both mother and daughter are now urging other people to nominate Jersey’s ‘spectacular’ children doing amazing things every day for this year’s competition, which is once again being sponsored by the Jersey Development Company.

‘Since surgery it has been a long road to recovery and it has taken some time to get used to how I now live my life,’ said Jessie. ‘This was a massive change and is something that on days I do still struggle with, but I only see how positive my life has been since surgery and how ill I was before.’

She said that winning the Pride of Jersey award had been overwhelming and something she would cherish and be proud of ‘for a long time’.

And Jessie, who won money to buy herself a laptop that she has used daily since, added: ‘I work with so many young inspiring children who I think would be so deserving of this award because of the adversity and challenges they face. It would be so lovely to see many more young children and teenagers nominated this year, because there are so many people out there who do amazing things.’

Her mother, who joined Jessie on the judging panel for last year’s Child of the Year award, said the family had been humbled by the support they received in 2017 and in the years since.

‘Being named Child of the Year was such a huge honour that it boosted Jessie’s self-esteem and, indeed, in a way, helped her in facing the continued b

attle for her health,’ she said.

‘In fact, she is now campaigning to raise awareness of inflammatory bowel disease and invisible illness and has set a goal to raise £2,000 to support the IBD sufferers in the Island.

‘On 21 July Jessie is doing a skydive to promote awareness and to say that even with a disability anything is possible. She is then going to university in September and continues to face the adversity of her condition with bravery, acceptance and humility.’

Mrs Barratt: ‘Last year there were only two nominations for Child of the Year. As a teacher myself in primary schools I know we have spectacular children in our Island doing amazingly kind things, or facing incredibly sad situations, or fighting illness, or being subjected to bullying, or simply just being incredible.

‘I would ask everyone to think of the children in your day-to-day life, your children, pupils, nieces, nephews, friends’ children and nominate them.’

Last year’s winner was Harry de Gruchy-Wilson, who was born with a rare form of cerebral palsy. Despite being told that he would not be able to walk or talk, he has overcome the odds and in 2017 learnt to ride a bike. He has completed a number of other challenges, including the Celebrity Superhero Triathlon, where he competed alongside Paralympic athletes.

You can nominate your community heroes here from the 10th of June. Nomination forms will also be printed each day in the JEP.