To be in the same room as so many incredible people with so many inspiring stories and achievements is impossible to convey and to be a finalist in the same category as St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Shift.ms was humbling. I had no expectation of winning and was over the moon to receive a ‘highly commended’ certificate and bottle of bubbly.
There’s far too many highlights to mention, so here’s a flavour of how the day unfolded: we arrived early enough for The Teenager to be photographed posing next to a £1 million Bugati parked outside the hotel which he quickly tweeted to his friends.
A champagne reception was then the perfect way to meet new people and put faces to names before being ushered into the ballroom for lunch. I was thrilled to be sitting next to Joseph Carter, the Director of MS Society Cymru and on the same table as David Baker from St Bartholomew’s Hospital with whom I had a lively and illuminating discussion about Alemtuzumab.
Lunch was superlative, the surroundings beautiful, but most importantly, the awards were emotional, moving and thoroughly well-deserved. The final announcement, for the MS Lifetime Achievement Award went to our very own Stuart Nixon (hardly a dry eye in the room). The Teenager was busy having his photograph taken with as many celebrities as he could find – a big thank you to Stephanie Millward for signing autographs for him and letting him hold an Olympic torch. In all the excitement, I forgot to take any photographs myself (d’oh!), but the day passed in a whirlwind.
It was brilliant to have people come up to me, have a quick glance at my shoes and ask if I was Stumbling In Flats. To be told how much people loved my blog was an award in itself and I’m still floating on a high (possibly also due to the champagne…).
What can I say? I truly was in the company of giants. If the future of MS is in their hands – through research, through fundraising, through volunteering – then we are in very safe hands indeed.