Opinion: Niamh’s an inspiration

Niamh Hardy, aged 16, winner of the Federation Endeavour Award.

Niamh Hardy, aged 16, winner of the Federation Endeavour Award.

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At last year’s Sheffield Federation for School Sports Awards it was the story of Niamh Hardy that stole everyone’s hearts.

Today 16-year-old Niamh will return to sport for the first time since she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

It is a triumph for a remarkable young woman who is not only a talented athlete, but is also preparing to sit her GCSEs and coaches young children in any spare time she may have.

Just taking part again in multi-event competition – like her idol Jessica Ennis-Hill – is a victory for Niamh.

But it is also a big win for everybody who suffers adversity in their lives.

There can’t be any one of us who doesn’t have an issue that we have to fight against – and it doesn’t have to be a serious personal illness like Niamh.

Knowing that times are tough and the road to recovery for you or a loved one is long and arduous is a daunting experience.

Reading Niamh’s story provides hope. It shows that through determination, the support of family and friends, and the expertise of the medical profession life can come full circle.

For a teenager she also provides remarkable perspective.

She says she used to want to be like Ennis-Hill, but now she’s just happy to be back doing what she loves.

The Star takes pride in reporting on the grit and determination of the people from our area, but Niamh really is one in a million.

We should all be very proud of her.

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