11:34AM, Tuesday 08 September 2020
Trishna Bharadia (right) and Anisha Gangotra
Two sisters from Marlow have become finalists in a set of international health awards for their work helping others with illnesses they both live with themselves.
Trishna Bharadia and Anisha Gangotra have reached the finals of the ninth annual WEGO Health Awards, which recognise patient advocates leading the way in online health communities.
Trishna has been shortlisted in the final six of two categories - 'Healthcare Collaborator' and 'Lifetime Achievement' - while her sibling Anisha has become a finalist in the 'Rookie of the Year' category.
Both live with physical and mental health conditions and have been using advocacy to help others with chronic illness and to improve the delivery of healthcare.
Trishna, a translator for a business intelligence company, began her patient advocacy work after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2008, aged 28. She also lives with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety.
Her work as a health advocate includes speaking at events and conferences, and communicating with stakeholders including the NHS, clinicians, and individuals living with chronic illness.
A previous accolade includes recognition from the Prime Minister’s Office in 2018 with a Points of Light Award, while in 2015 she was chosen to take part in a special edition of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1, which told her story with MS to millions of TV viewers.
"It’s really exciting to see my advocacy efforts recognised in this way. Hopefully it will help to create further awareness around the issues of living with chronic illness and encourage others to become advocates and share their stories," Trishna, who is also an ambassador for MS Society UK, said.
"Everyone will be a patient at some point in their lives, so I believe we all have a responsibility to try to improve the future of healthcare.”
Anisha is newer to the advocacy world and started to raise awareness about living with mental health conditions and chronic illness in 2019.
She has lived with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, since 2008, but it was the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression resulting from her being a victim in a non-fault high-speed car accident in 2011 that led her to begin advocating for better understanding and support for others in a similar situation.
Following several years of recovery from the accident, Anisha switched careers - she was previously working in sales - and since 2018 has been working within the NHS Mental Health service.
Anisha said: “Continuing the conversation around mental health and chronic illness is vital to raise awareness, smash stigma and discrimination, and to put a face to these conditions."
Winners of the awards will be announced during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, October 15 at 12am UK time via a Facebook Premiere event on the WEGO Health Facebook page.
All finalists can be viewed here.
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