Canadian teenager Faith Dickinson was among the honourees at Thursday’s inaugural Diana Awards, hosted by Princes William and Harry as a way to carry on the legacy of their late mother, Princess Diana, by honouring teenagers around the globe who are changing the world for the better.
One of only 20 teens to receive this prestigious honour, the 15-year-old Lakefield, Ontario, native travelled to the U.K. to accept her award from the princes at a special ceremony held at St. James Palace in London.
Dickinson was recognized for starting her own charity, Cuddles for Cancer, which sends warming blankets to cancer patients in numerous countries throughout the world.
“At just nine years old, Faith launched the charity Cuddles for Cancer after her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her treatment, Faith’s aunt told her how she got very cold, so Faith made her a fleece blanket to provide comfort, warmth and love,” reads the Diana Awards program, as reported by the Peterborough Examiner.
“To date Faith has made over 3,000 blankets, which have been sent across Canada, the United States, U.K., Germany, Brazil, Australia, France and Africa. She has raised over $30,000 to ensure that the blankets remain free to those who need them the most. She believes that everyone ‘deserves a cuddle’ and personalizes each blanket based on the recipient’s hobbies or favourite colour,” continues the program entry. “Most recently, her blankets have served soldiers returning home injured or suffering from PTSD. Faith is also an active member of her community as a volunteer and her ‘cuddle club’ talks have reached thousands of young people in schools across Ontario, encouraging students to fight social injustice in their local and global communities.”
During the ceremony, the princes spoke about the importance of continuing their mother’s legacy.
“This summer marks 20 years since my mother died, and she achieved so much in her life,” said the Duke of Cambridge as he addressed the audience in attendance. “From helping to shatter the stigma around AIDS, to fighting to ban landmines and supporting the homeless — she touched the lives of millions.”
Meanwhile, Dickinson’s honour did not go unrecognized in the Twittersphere: