A Bradford mother, whose son was diagnosed with an incurable muscle wasting disease seven years ago, was presented with a prestigious award last weekend for her committed support and awareness work.
Nazma Chowdhury, from Barkerend, was awarded the Charity Champion President’s Award from Muscular Dystrophy UK on Saturday 3rd October by ambassador Sue Barker.
After her son, Mahid – now 13, was diagnosed with Duchenne’s in 2008, the determined volunteer was inspired to set up a support group for families affect by muscle wasting disease entitled Awaaz – meaning ‘Voice’.
Over the past year, more than 20 families from South Asian backgrounds have joined forces to support each other at five Awaaz family events in West Yorkshire, as the group continues to welcome new members.
Today more than 50 participants have attended the events aimed at providing advice and forging friendships with individuals and families.
Recent meetings have featured discussions on themes requested by the families involved including: getting the right wheelchair, support and days out at local hospices, and accessing disability sport.
Despite the group’s success, Nazma says she wasn’t expecting to win any kind of award and praised the efforts of other fundraisers.
“When I was contacted to say I was receiving the award I didn’t know why I had been chosen,” she said.
“There are people flying out of planes, trekking up mountains and doing all sorts of amazing things for charity, so I think they should all be recognised.
“The night itself was really good. I was able to meet and network with people from the charity and talk about Awaaz.”
With a new Awaaz group now set up in Coventry, Muscular Dystrophy UK plans to work with other families from diverse communities to replicate the groups’ success across the country.
Adding about the group, Nazma said: “I set up Awaaz with Anisa Kothia after being approached by Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Leeds General Infirmary.
“The intention was to help South Asian families gain a better understanding of all MD diseases whilst also offering support for those who may feel isolated or in need of help.
“We are just a small group at the moment but we welcome anybody who is affected by Muscular Dystrophy from any background.”
MDUK’s Neuromuscular Outreach Manager, Bobby Ancil, added his praise for the project.
“The Forum is going from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming new families to the group at the event in Bradford next weekend,” he said.
“Through Awaaz we are ensuring that the charity reaches out to more families from diverse communities and we look forward to running similar events and groups across the country soon.”