Lily founder honoured at star-studded awards ceremony

24 September 2023

Everyone at Lily HQ was delighted to hear the exciting news that our founder and CEO, Liz, was honoured with a National Lottery Local Health Hero Award at The Sun’s recent Who Cares Wins awards.

The awards, sponsored by The National Lottery and held in partnership with NHS Charities Together, honour those across the health and social care sector who go above and beyond for their patients and causes. This award for Liz is a reflection of the huge progress she and our charity have made in fighting mitochondrial disease since 2007.

After boxing champ Anthony Joshua launched the sixth edition of the awards earlier this year, one of many celebrations to mark the NHS turning 75, the winners were revealed at a ceremony held at London’s Camden Roundhouse on 19th September. The star-studded event was hosted by Davina McCall and attended by judge Joshua, as well as Liz and her partner Dave plus fellow team Lily representatives Clare, Claire and Janet.

A number of famous faces and some of Britain’s best-loved charity campaigners were on hand to present the awards at the glittering ceremony, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer, Gary Lineker, James Corden and Emily Atack.

Liz was given her gong by Paralympian Ellie Simmonds and Radio 2 presenter Vernon Kay. Liz spoke modestly about the award she received: “It was an honour to be amongst such an incredible group of people who spend their lives working to make other people’s lives better, and to celebrate with some of the UK’s best-known celebrities who had given up their time to acknowledge such wonderful work. To be chosen as The National Lottery winner was just immense. I cannot begin to imagine what incredible causes we were up against, but to be chosen was unbelievable, and receiving the award from iconic Paralympian Ellie Simmonds and the legend Vernon Kay was the icing on the cake.”

Thank you to The National Lottery for believing in us and for giving The Lily Foundation and our mito warriors a voice to be heard...” – Liz Curtis

In an emotional speech she also thanked The National Lottery for the funding it has provided to the charity, which has helped us increase our support for those affected by mitochondrial disease. “Thank you to The National Lottery for believing in us and for giving The Lily Foundation and our mito warriors a voice to be heard – what an end to global mitochondrial disease week.”

Ellie said: “Liz has done absolutely phenomenal things and fully deserves this award. It’s amazing to be a small part of her night.”

Vernon added: “Liz has been through some really harrowing circumstances and come out the other side with a passion to help people. She’s special because not everyone can do that after something so traumatic. Liz is the perfect example of what we should all be.”

Unsurprisingly, the award will be taking pride of place in Liz’s home! And since the ceremony took place during World Mitochondrial Disease Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness about the disease around the world, with so many famous folk on hand we couldn’t resist taking one of the furry friends from our Share a Bear campaign with us – there’s nothing like a celebrity endorsement to help us in our mission to spread the word.

The awards ceremony was televised on Channel 4 on Sunday 24th September, the final day of the global awareness week, and if you missed it you can catch up on All4. You can also read The National Lottery’s interview with Liz after honouring her with the award.

What better way to round off such an important week in the mito calendar than by seeing our charity’s founder honoured on national TV in this way!