Doting mum of poorly Callum in running for Best of Health award

(left to right) Luke Smith, Jacqui Gettings, Callum Smith and Zoe Neesam
(left to right) Luke Smith, Jacqui Gettings, Callum Smith and Zoe Neesam

A MOTHER who has cared for her poorly little boy all his life is in the running for an award.

Zoe Neesam has been hailed as “a brilliant carer” for the way she looks after her two-year-old son Callum Smith, but modest Zoe, 21, said; “I do it because I love him. I care for him because he is my son but it is lovely that someone has recognised me for that.”

Her compassion and devotion has put her in the running for a Best of Health award. The person who nominated her was Jacqui Gettings of the town charity Epilepsy Outlook who said: “I can not think of a better person to be deserving of this.

“Callum has many needs. Zoe smiles with him, talks to him and I am sure she is the reason he is such a cheerful little boy. She is a brilliant carer.”

Callum stole our hearts with his battle against a string of conditions. He has epilepsy, reflux problems, dystonia, hypertonia,problems with swallowing, visual impairment, an inability to hold his airways open, secretion problems and global developmental delay which means he can not hold his head up.

He has spent more than a quarter of his life in hospital but he has never stopped battling.

His story was so inspirational that the people of Hartlepool raised £14,000 through the Callum’s Dream appeal for him and made sure he could have a sensory room in his home.

The appeal was run last summer by the Hartlepool Mail in conjunction with Epilepsy Outlook and reached its £5,000 target for the sensory room within a month, before going on to raise almost three times the original aim.

Zoe described her nomination as “a surprise”. It has come as a bit of a shock but it is really nice,” she added.

She joins a huge list of entrants in the competition which closes for entries this Friday. The following are the sectors in which we hope to find outstanding candidates:

• GP of the Year;

• GP Practice of the Year;

• Dentist of the Year;

• Nurse of the Year;

• Team of the Year;

• Optometrist of the Year;

• Pharmacist of the Year;

• Carer of the Year;

• Midwife of the Year;

• Receptionist of the Year;

• Long Term Achievement;

• Health Care Apprentice/Student.

To nominate before May 16, fill in the form on this page.