An inspirational teenager who has defied a debilitating condition to try and fulfill her sporting ambitions has been named Outstanding Young Person of the Month.
Nicole Martin, aged 17, was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) as a toddler.
The condition is characterised by tumours growing on the nerves, curvature of the spine, learning difficulties, facial disfigurements, blindness and epilepsy, as well as other symptoms.
Nicole, from Winchelsea Beach, has many of these symptoms, but is still dedicated to sport and is undertaking a sports science course at Bexhill College.
She has a special wheelchair, thanks to funding from a local charity called Charity for Kids and among the sports she participates in are judo, horse riding, swimming, wheelchair basketball, skiing, wheelchair fencing, plus she goes to the gym.
Earlier this year, Nicole raised almost £2,500 from doing a sky dive only two months after surgery to remove cancerous tumours. She shared the money between Charity for Kids, Children’s Tumour Foundation and a charity for scleroderma an uncommon disease that results in hard, thickened areas of skin.
Nicole is passionate about raising awareness of NF1 and contacted her local Labour candidate, Sarah Owen, which led to a meeting with Lord Hunt and Lord Bassam in the House of Lords. Questions were subsequently raised in Parliament, and a Parliamentary debate about NF1 will take place in the autumn. The Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award is sponsored by the Hastings Observer Series and Sussex Coast College.
Each month, the award is presented to someone aged 18 and under who has excelled in some way, perhaps in sport or their academic studies, or has performed an important role on a voluntary basis in their own home or the wider community.
As part of her award, Nicole will receive a complimentary meal for two and £100 for charity, which she has decided to split between Fixers and Charity for Kids. Justin Rollings, spokesman for SCC, said: “Nicole really is inspirational.”