Holly is an inspiration

As we prepare to be inspired by the grit and determination shown by the GB Paralympians, one Gainsborough teenager has already had her amazing achievements recognised.

Monday, 27th August 2012, 12:47 pm

Fifteen-year-old Holly Girven was born with a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, which means her bones are brittle.

She is unable to walk and uses a wheelchair.

But far from letting it hold her back, Holly has shown amazing motivation, getting involved in everything from sport to local politics.

Her efforts have earned her a Diana Award, named after Princess Diana and given to young people who inspire others.

Holly, of Laughton, received the accolade in front of her pals during the end of term assembly at Queen Elizabeth’s High School.

She said: “I knew I had been nominated by my teachers but I was really surprised and pleased to get the award.”

“I got a certificate and a badge and I feel quite proud of myself.”

At school Holly, who will be going into Year 11, is a peer listener, helping younger pupils with any worries or concerns they have.

She also joined the Lincolnshire Youth Cabinet last year, not long after having an operation on her legs.

She said: “I had an operation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to make my legs straighter but there were a few complications.”

“I got an infection and had to go back into hospital, so I was there for nine days in total.”

“After that I joined the youth cabinet and we have monthly meetings in Lincoln or Sleaford. We talk about all sorts of issues to do with young people, like transport and youth clubs.”

“I enjoy it and I can talk about issues to do with young people with disabilities.”

Holly is also on Laughton’s field and events committee and was part of a group promoting disabled rights, which led to her visiting Downing Street and meeting the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron and disabled Paralympic medal winner Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomspson.

Holly is unable to stand or walk at all, but is a keen swimmer and enters national competitions.

“I compete mainly around here and the nationals are in Sheffield in March and November,” she said.

“I swim 800m and do all different strokes. I can use my legs in the water and it can help them. I’m looking forward to watching the Paralympics.”

She lives with mum Lynne, a school nurse, dad Jim, a finance manager, and younger brother Cameron, 13.

Jim said: “When we heard she had been nominated for the Diana Award we were really pleased, we’re very proud of her.”

“We try to treat her as you would any kid, we don’t wrap her in cotton wool and she wouldn’t let us.”

“She has a very strong, independent personality.”

He said that after Holly was born it took a while to get her condition diagnosed and she was one of the first people to get treatment for it at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“They are looking at doing more surgery to stretch her legs a bit more and get her knees sorted,” he added.