A schoolteacher from Knaphill who helped to save the life of one of her pupils has won the 2016 Allergy UK Hero Award.
Jo Griffith received the award for her prompt action in administering an adrenaline auto injector as one of her pupils, Freddie Jones, went into anaphylactic shock. Freddie, 7, was suffering a secondary reaction two days after going into anaphylactic shock during a test in hospital for his nut allergy,
Not only did Jo’s actions help to save Freddie’s life during the incident at Holy Trinity CofE Primary School in Sunningdale, near Ascot, but her care and compassion for the boy and his family helped them to deal with their anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident.
Freddie’s mother, Iris Jones, said: “Jo was instrumental in building Freddie and our family back up. Life would have been very different but for the actions of Jo that day and during the months that followed. She stayed in close contact with us making sure that we were reassured about Freddie’s days at school and letting us know that he was doing well. Her strength, courage and kindness will forever be part of our family.”
Jo knew what signs to look for after being trained on allergies and anaphylaxis at the school. “You don’t think it’s ever going to happen but when it did, that training kicked in, thank goodness” she said. “It was a shocking incident for him and his family and I am so glad I was able to help – receiving this award is wonderful.”
At an Ceremony in the Connaught Rooms in London last week, Jo won the Community Hero Award – one of the five categories in the Allergy UK Hero Award programme – for ‘someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping, improving and saving the life of someone with allergy in the community.’
She went on to win the top award of the evening after guests voted for the overall winner from the five categories.
Over the past 25 years Allergy UK has been providing information and advice to the one in three people in the UK living with allergies, and working with healthcare professionals to improve diagnosis and treatment.
Carla Jones, the charity’s chief executive said: “There was no better way to celebrate our 25th anniversary than to publicly recognise those who have helped people whose lives have been affected by allergy, from family and friends to caring health professionals.
“We had five worthy category winners and our guests chose Jo as the overall Allergy UK Hero Award winner because of how she helped Freddie and his family.
“All too often there is a lack of understanding of what this can really mean to individuals and their families. Our Allergy UK Heroes are a huge inspiration for us and for the people we help,” Carla said.