Muswell Hill cancer campaigner hero is recognised with award from Prime Minister
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Muswell Hill cancer campaigner hero is recognised with award from Prime Minister

Twice-treated patient wins Points of Light Award for work helping young patients catch up on education they miss

A two-time cancer survivor who set up a charity to support pupils who miss classes to be treated has won  Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.

Joshua Pelled, from Muswell Hill, created Bright Futures UK after he was himself forced to take two years off school.

He had been diagnosed with kidney cancer when he was five and then osteosarcoma when he was 16, just as he was about to take his GCSE exams.

The experience made him realise how further support could be given to other youngsters who cannot attend school for long periods.

He also realised they need peer support to reduce the isolation many feel when separated from friends during long hospital stays or recovering at home.

Supported by over 200 volunteers and working with NHS partners for referrals, the charity is the first of its kind in the UK and has provided more than 800 students aged 5-24 with tailored classes and personal support since 2017.

That includes tutoring and mentoring programmes, regular workshops and a befriending service enabling young people to connect with one another.

Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said: “I am delighted Joshua has been recognised for his incredible contribution to the community. It is an appropriate tribute for all he has done in inspiring other young people to overcome health challenges and the impact on their education.”

Joshua said: “I am honoured to receive the Points of Light award for founding Bright Futures UK. I created it from my own personal experiences of beating cancer twice throughout my education.

“It was clear more needed to be done to support children and young people throughout these challenging times. Bright Futures UK focuses on the individual needs of the young people we work for and to support their personal needs, goals and growth.
“Bright Futures UK wouldn’t be what it is today without the incredibly dedicated team behind the charity, the hundreds of volunteers who offer their time with a big smile and all the supporters who have joined us along the journey.

“To all of them, you are the points of light to so many of the young people we work with.”

Joshua is the 1912th person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.

Each day an individual is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements, including hundreds of volunteers who have been recognised for how they have served their communities through the Covid pandemic.

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