Redbridge Youth Parliament member who survived leukaemia honoured at Jack Petchey Awards
At the age of six Sangeeta Das was diagnosed with leukaemia, an illness which claimed the lives of a number of her friends. But despite this she has used it to make a difference.
The Redbridge Youth Parliament member was given the all-clear within two years, but her battle with the disease and the check-ups she still has have inspired her to raise money for the Children with Cancer charity.
The 16-year-old, who has sold raffle tickets to raise funds, said: “At lot of friends I met at hospital I didn’t get to see again – they didn’t make it out with their lives.
“I feel I can help other children by raising money. I lost my friends but I hope I can help children now to get better”
Sangeeta, of Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, was honoured at Thursday’s Jack Petchey Achievement Awards in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, together with more than 150 other young people.
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She became the borough’s Youth Parliament representative earlier this year, with one of her manifesto pledges to help her generation be seen in a positive light.
When she was elected, she and the Youth Council devised a campaign called In Youth we Trust.
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As part of the campaign, three litter picks involving young people were held, and an online forum was set up where people could post about random acts of kindness.
Sangeeta, a student at Seven Kings High School, Ley Street, Ilford, said: “I wanted to create a better relationship between young people and the rest of the community.
“A lot of the time young people are not represented fairly in the media.”
She has a 10-year-old brother Shivani. Another brother, Keshav, died aged six of a congenital heart defect.
Sangeeta, who was also a Redbridge Ambassador in the lead-up to, and during, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said she does not think she is inspirational, despite being described as such.
“I don’t do things to try to be inspirational,” she said.
“I try to help people in as many ways as I can. I think that’s the best reward for yourself – it makes you feel better inside.”