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Posted on Oct 30 2023 by Fiona Bailey

Darran Woods, who has been a patient at St Andrew’s Healthcare since 2021, has picked up an award for working “passionately and tirelessly” to raise awareness of Huntington’s Disease (HD).

It was announced he had picked up the Inspirational Contribution prize at last week's NR Times Awards on the very same day he was discharged from the charity.

Darran was recognised at the awards for all the media work he has done to raise the profile of HD and to encourage people to be more understanding. He took part in a number of interviews, with publications such as the NR Times and the Independent, which gained national coverage.

He has also participated in a number of radio interviews, more recently talking about the innovative voice banking service that St Andrew’s has started rolling out.

He was also one of five patients who starred in the mental health charity’s Hope Exhibition, which told their recovery story in a series of photographs. Darran agreed to have his picture taken as part of the exhibition which has been on display at a series of public places, such as the Northampton and Wolverhampton train stations, the Grosvenor Centre shopping centre and Northampton General Hospital.

The judges said this award was “particularly” hard to decide as there was an “array of outstanding achievements alongside deeply personal motivations”.

Judge Suzie Kenyon-Tilley, from TRU Rehab, said: “This was such a difficult category to judge with so much dedication and truly outstanding impact seen in the entries – but Darran’s story and the contribution he makes to the lives of others is truly inspirational.” 

Clinical and Forensic Psychologist Dr Vincent Harding, who has worked very closely with Darran, was shortlisted in the same category.

The award submission about Darran said: “It has been a challenging time for Darran – who at times did not know what the future held for him. But he remained focused on improving his mental health and finding a way he can live meaningfully with HD.

“He says the staff at St Andrew’s have given him hope. And because of that, he likes to give hope to other patients by meeting and talking to them. But, not only that, Darran has become an advocate for HD.”

Away from his advocacy work Darran has taken to cycling and was often seen roving around the grounds of St Andrew’s, showing the world that despite his diagnosis, he can still be active and keep fit.

St Andrew’s was also shortlisted in the Research of the Year, Rehab Outcome of the Year and Charity of the Year categories. Dr Keith Jenkins was also shortlisted in the Above and Beyond category.