Lisa was nominated by her sister, Michelle Darlaston for her strength, determination and selfless attitude to not only supporting her daughter as she battled a life-threatening illness, but also finding the energy and will to help others by creating the Poppy Fields Appeal; a charity that has raised over £150,000 to buy life-saving equipment for children with brain cancer at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
The Award, inspired by Lesley, one of Penguin’s biggest selling authors, was launched in 2006 to celebrate the achievements of ordinary women who have done extraordinary things. Its aim is to recognise women who have done something positive – either for themselves, or for others and the winner is personally chosen by Lesley Pearse.
Lesley Pearse says:
“Lisa Guilder's baby daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour at only 14mths. She had only a 50/50 chance of survival. Everyone can imagine how terrible that would be for a mother, but while Lisa was staying with Poppy through months of chemotherapy, she wasn't thinking of only her baby, but all the other children receiving treatment for cancer at Birmingham Children's Hospital. Lisa was so touched by the care Poppy was given, she set up The Poppy Fields Appeal to raise money to try and help all of them.
From sponsored toddles, to Charity Balls and football tournaments, Lisa selflessly worked at raising money for her charity, and all the while, right up till she was five, Poppy was still receiving radio therapy. As if that wasn't enough for one person to cope with, Lisa was also holding down a teaching job in a primary school. To date she has raised £150,000 for a scanner and other specialist equipment needed in brain surgery. Lisa also started a support group to help other parents of children with serious illnesses.
Poppy is nine now and although blind in one eye and having daily hormone injections, she attends main stream school and is bright and happy. She is a very brave little girl, and I have no doubt this is because she's learned about courage from her mother.
Lisa is my Woman of Courage because while life was throwing the biggest, most cruel challenges at her, she stepped up to the plate and helped and supported other parents in a similar situation. Lisa is simply a wonderful, inspirational woman. I can't wait to meet her and give her the award she so deserves.”
"I was so overwhelmed when I heard that I had won this award that I cried! My beautiful Poppy has been my inspiration throughout the last 8 years, and along with the support of my wonderful husband, family and friends, we have been able to turn an awful situation into something positive that helps others affected by childhood brain tumours. Thank you so much."
Lisa has won a cheque for £1000 donated by Lesley Pearse, £500 of Penguin books and a specially crafted commemorative award. She will also meet Lesley at a special celebratory lunch in London organised by Penguin.