A Northampton mum-of-two has been nominated for a national diversity award for her work to raise awareness of a rare eye condition.
Katie Berrill from Bugbrooke has been shortlisted for the ‘Positive Role Model’ award for disability at the National Diversity Awards 2021.
Around 52,000 people were nominated this year alone. Now 126 people have been shortlisted in a range of categories.
Katie has been recognised for raising awareness of Stargardts and for creating a safe online space for those who have the rare eye condition to find support, after she was diagnosed at the age of 32 in 2017 after a routine opticians appointment.
The mum-of-two said: “This award would help me so much because it would enable me to be the spokesperson for Stargardts and help with the plans I would like to put in place that would support and help others with Stargardts and central vision loss and not just for the UK.
“I have noticed a big need for support in other countries too.
“I would like to support people upon diagnosis and throughout their life changing journey.
“It would put invisible disabilities in the spotlight.
“I just feel there is such a lack of support for sight loss and I have met so many people who felt they had nowhere to turn, until they found me.”
Katie’s Vision is the website set up by Katie to help others with similar sight conditions where she has built up an active community who post regularly on the site.
The award nominee added: “People have come to me who either have Stargardts themselves and feel completely alone with their diagnosis and also people who have a loved one or a child/children with the condition too, looking for advice and support from someone who understands.
“There is very little information given upon diagnosis and even less information in countries outside the UK and this has prompted people to search online and ultimately find myself as I use all social media to raise awareness for this rare disease.
“I always try and get back to everyone who messages me and try and give hope in all of my posts but also keep it realistic and share my honest journey.”
Katie and other community organisations and role models from across the UK will head to the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on February 4, 2022 to witness the countries 2021 winners being crowned the best of British diversity.