INSPIRATIONAL Midhurst teenager Sophie Bosley was given a special Christmas gift when she was presented with one of the most prestigious awards in the Girlguiding movement.
Despite being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia just over two years ago Sophie has continued with challenging work to achieve guiding badges and worked tirelessly in the community.
Last week she was presented with the rarely given Guiding Star at a special ceremony in Easebourne led by West Sussex Commissioner for Guides Annabel Gray.
16 year old Sophie, said: “When I was diagnosed I just wanted to get on with life and get on with the treatment and finish the GCSEs I had just started.” For two years she has been on oral chemotherapy drugs and now awaits a bone marrow transplant.
During that time she has gained 4As, 6Bs and 2Cs at GCSE and started studying music, history, English Language and art at AS level.
She has completed her young leader award normally completed between the ages of 16-18, achieved her chief guide challenge award and now a Rother Valley Ranger she is working on her adult leadership qualification which will enable her to run her own unit.
“The drugs are keeping it at bay, but hopefully the bone marrow transport will be a cure,” she said.
A letter from Chief Guide Gill Slocombe said: “This is to recognise your outstanding service to Guiding.
“Your contribution has had a tremendous impact on the girls, volunteers and the wider community which benefits from Guiding.
“We are indebted to you for giving your time and talents so generously.
“Without dedication such as your own we would not be able to offer the challenges, fun and friendship which our an integral part of belonging to Girlguiding.”
It was at Sophie’s last Guide camp in 2011, aged 14 that her family and those around her first realised something was wrong.
“One of the guide leaders, who is also a nurse at St Richards, thought something was not right,” said her mother Kirstin, “She was diagnosed after blood tests.”
Throughout her treatment Sophie has been determined to carry on a normal life and through Guiding has continued to help her community.
She has raised funds for the Piam Brown Southampton General ward where she was treated and also for the Sussex Snowdrop Trust which helps the families of children with life threatening or terminal illnesses.
She is also a young leader with Midhurst Rainbows and Easebourne Brownies and is helping to raise awareness of the need for 16-30 year old bone marrow donors through telling her story.
And what’s next?
“I am now working for my Queen’s Guide award and my gold Duke of Edinburgh award - and my A levels.”