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Champion Children awards made

CONCORD –  Three children were recognized as Champions Among Children at an award ceremony hosted by the state Council for Children with Chronic Health Conditons.   

Ryan Blackey, of Meredith,  Sarah McGrail, of Rochester, and  Erin O’Hara, of Seabrook, were honored at the annual Children’s Alliance Summit.

 Blackey was nominated by Bethany J. Smith, Partners In Health, in Laconia.  “Ryen is an 11 years-old with Astrocytoma Brain tumor and scoliosis. He is an exceptional child,” wrote Smith, “Ryen works hard each and every day to achieve all his goals in life and never gives up. He speaks to others about his challenges very openly and encourages others on an ongoing basis. He is brave, strong and independent and lets nothing hold him back.”

O’Hara was nominated by Helen Cataford,  Seabrook Middle School Nurse.“Erin has cerebral palsy and a contagious smile,” wrote Cataford. ” After undergoing orthopedic surgery at age 6, wearing a cast from her waist to her toes and using a wheelchair for months, she was able to teach herself how to walk again. She has what she calls a “rock-and-roll” gait. She has not let her “different” style of walking get her down. She has dreams of becoming a dancer and is organizing an Adaptive Hip Hop Dance Class at her school. She teaches all of us to try harder and live more fully.”

McGrail was nominated by Astrid Wielens,  of  the Dover-based Zebra Crossings.   “Sarah is 9 years-old with mild Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy,” wrote Wielens, “Wonderfully kind, funny, and supportive of others. She is an active girl willing to try new experiences despite her chronic health condition. Last month we went canoeing. Sarah continues to show her resiliency to adapt to various environments, is positive and empathetic to others, has a great dry sense of humor and is determined to keep trying new experiences and challenge herself. She inspires me and others around her.”