New Thrive Mental Health Star Award dedicated to memory of inspirational Cariss

A new trophy has been announced for next year’s Thrive West Midlands Mental Health Star Awards, in memory of Cariss Evans, a posthumous winner at this year’s ceremony in January.

Cariss won the award in the Black Country Individual category in recognition and memory of her work providing innovative, person-centred interventions for young people and their families in Sandwell.

The nomination described how, as a member of the child and adolescent nursing team at the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, she made many exceptional contributions.

New Thrive Mental Health Star Award dedicated to memory of inspirational Cariss

Cariss Evans is pictured in the centre, celebrating winning The Brain Tumour Charity’s Volunteer of the Year Award 2018, with her parents John and Elizabeth

Despite diagnosis of a brain tumour, Cariss continued to work and support her team – and raised almost £23,000 for research into the illness before her death in October last year at the age of 33.

Trust chief executive Lesley Writtle said: “Over the years she remained positive and provided real inspiration to the rest of the team, always working with the utmost dignity in the face of such challenges.”

Lesley accepted the Thrive award on behalf of Cariss’s family, at January’s ceremony at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich.

Her parents John and Elizabeth are to work with the West Midlands Combined Authority Thrive team to design the criteria for the award that will be presented in January 2020.

Elizabeth said: “We are so proud of Cariss and delighted that her dedicated work to support young people with mental health issues is being honoured in the Thrive awards.

“After being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014, she underwent multiple operations and intensive rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“But she always remained positive, lived life to the full and hosted many events to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity, which supported her during her illness.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We are so pleased that Cariss’s parents have agreed to the Thrive award in her honour – her story is truly inspirational and we could not think of a more fitting tribute to her.

“What is paramount is that we create an award that will recognise and celebrate what was important to Cariss in her work – and so I am delighted that her family have been involved in helping to make this a reality.”

Nominations for the 2020 Awards will open on 16 September, with an announcement and details on the WMCA website.