Points of Light Award winner Sarah White
By Bobbi Bicker
In life we meet many people that can change our life forever, many that inspire us to be a better version of ourselves and make a difference in the world. I wanted to introduce you all to a very special and inspiring lady, Sarah White. She was recently presented with an award by the Prime Minister David Cameron and named Points of Light for her amazing work with Supershoes Charity. I have personally been involved with Supershoes for over a year, painting converse shoes, together with more than one hundred other SuperArtists. We have painted hundreds of shoes for children affected by cancer by creating customised ‘super’ shoes to reflect their hobbies and passions.
Sarah is from Woburn Sands in Buckinghamshire, and she founded the charity ‘Supershoes’ in 2013. The charity’s mission is to empower children fighting with cancer by creating personalised trainers, decorated uniquely to represent each child or young person, which can range from family pets to film stars. Thanks to Sarah, Supershoes has donated over 400 pairs of shoes to children across the UK and raised over £25,000 to provide children with a unique pair of shoes they can wear with pride. Each pair of Supershoes created is used to raise awareness of a child fighting cancer, through the charities social media channels.
Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Sarah is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Sarah was inspired to launch Supershoes after learning about the incredibly brave four year old called Henry Allen who was battling Neuroblastoma, a particularly aggressive childhood cancer that affects the under-fives. Henry, who sadly lost his battle with cancer, was the first recipient of a pair of Supershoes, but his story helped thousands of others see what a difference this simple gift can make. Together with her husband Ken, they wanted to reach out to the hundreds more children affected by cancer and asked “super artists” to volunteer their time to hand paint and design converse shoes specifically for a young person. Now over one hundred volunteers spend at least ten hours creating each pair of personalised shoes to send to children across the country who are bravely battling cancer.
Supershoes works with cancer charity CLIC Sargent as a referring partner, to make it easier for people to access their services and it complements the practical, financial and emotional support that CLIC Sargent provides. Sarah works full-time on the day to day running of Supershoes, matching children and their requests for designs with the super artists, as well as managing partnerships and taking volunteer artists into children’s hospitals to run art workshops.
Sarah has also partnered with Office, the chain of shoe shops, who give a discount on Converse shoes to keep costs down. Sarah’s work has now inspired a similar team of people in Australia.
Sarah is the 325th winner of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over five thousand US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK, which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.
Regardless of whether it is a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.
Sarah White said:
“I am absolutely delighted to be receiving this award on behalf of everyone involved with Supershoes. We have over 130 super artists who give their time and talent to make a child’s fight against cancer just a little bit easier. Cancer treatment is a long and arduous fight and some families haven’t seen their children smile for weeks. These shoes are a small, simple gift but it brings a smile and a mini-boost to these children and let’s their personality really shine through. Just like each child, these shoes are completely unique and the only ones in the whole world.”
If you would like to see all the wonderful work that the charity has done so far, like to get involved or want to donate please visit the Supershoes website www.supershoes.org.uk or facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SupershoesUK