Triple success as students represent Dundee at Young Scot Awards
The first weekend in December is often spent planning for the festive period, but for three students from the University of Dundee there was even more reason to celebrate after being were invited to Saturday’s Young Scot Awards.
The trio, Rhys Greig, Alyssa Faulkner and Abby Lang, were still all smiling this week as we caught up with them to find out how it felt to be shortlisted and in the case of Rhys and Alyssa – win a Young Scot Award.
“I honestly can’t begin to describe how humbled I am to have won the Young Scot Health and Wellbeing award.”Alyssa Faulkner
“I met so many amazing young people at the Young Scot Awards, the talent in the room was overwhelming – so I really couldn’t believe it when they announced that I’d won it.”
After being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2014, Alyssa, now a third-year student at the University of Dundee, has gone the extra mile to raise awareness of the condition and what it means to those who live it.
Now 20, Alyssa reaches out via her blog, The Pumptastic Scot, to develop support networks for young people dealing with the challenges of the condition. This includes writing honestly about studying, facing deadlines, working in the food industry and even her experiences dating with Type 1 Diabetes.
“It is always in the back of my mind but it doesn’t stop me from doing the things I want to do. Basically, Type 1 should not hold you back. It is hard to live with, it requires constant control, but you can live life to the full nevertheless. And that’s the story I want to tell.
With one year left at University, Alyssa said she aims to use this year to get as much experience as possible before she graduates.
She added, “I aim to keep writing, blogging and spreading awareness of Type 1 diabetes but the award reinforces the fact that what I do makes a difference.”
“I had the most incredible weekend at the Awards, it is such a huge honour to win the Excellence in Education Award!”Rhys Greig
For Rhys Greig, a second-year nursing student, the Young Scot Awards were confirmation she was on the right track, having made a promise to her father before he passed away to become a nurse.
“I had the most incredible weekend at the Awards,” said Rhys. “It is such a huge honour to win the Excellence in Education Award! Education is so important to me, I’m immensely proud and I hope to use it to inspire other young people. You can achieve absolutely anything when you put your mind to it.”
Rhys, now 19 years old, spent years helping her dad through a drug addiction. Now, training to be an Adult Nurse, she intends to work with people with blood-borne diseases and addictions.
“I hope to continue to raise awareness about being a young person having to deal with a parent’s addiction and mental illness. We can succeed just like our peers!
“This last year has been absolutely crazy – this time last year I didn’t even know where I would be and I definitely never anticipated the happiness I have now. I just hope to continue to use something awful to do good.”
“It was an honour to have my campaigning efforts recognised as a finalist in the Young Scot Awards,”Abby Lang
Saturday’s Award ceremony was also a special moment for first-year medical student Abby Lang. Who was not only shortlisted as a finalist for the Health and Wellbeing category but also helped bring the entire ceremony to life.
Both charities advocate a government-funded screening programme to help prevent young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). Currently, it is bereaved families who finance CRY-conducted heart screenings across the UK.
The #4Pete campaign, set up in memory of a 22-year-old footballer from Dundee, who died of an undiagnosed heart condition whilst on a soccer scholarship in America, pays for CRY screenings in the Tayside area.
“It was an honour to have my campaigning efforts recognised as a finalist in the Young Scot Awards,” said Abby.
“Sitting on the Delivery Panel, who helped organise the 2018 event, it was fantastic to see ideas we contributed during the planning process come to life. I am delighted for Rhys and Alyssa winning their categories – both are inspiring young people who do Dundee proud!”
Only in her first year of medical school, Abby said the awards reinforced her passion for championing CRY and #4Pete.
“I will continue to raise awareness of YSCD and the need for a national strategy to prevent young people dying from undiagnosed heart conditions.”
“The UK National Screening Committee is currently reviewing their stance on a national screening programme for YSCD – so now is the time to boost awareness and gain more political support. I urge all young people, who have the opportunity to attend a CRY screening, to do so. It is a quick, simple, non-invasive test that has the potential to save your life.”