Photo of Toni Paxford of Paige's Project

Toni Paxford

Toni has been nominated by Charlie Roberts. Charlie is a young changemaker herself and has supported our research work into Female Genital Mutilation.

Toni Paxford is the Founder of Paige’s Project. It is a not-for-profit group run by young people as a social action project for 11-25 year olds with invisible illnesses.

It was set up by Toni as a result of her own invisible illness, Cushing’s Disease which manifested as a pituitary brain tumour.”

Who has she helped?

Charlie says “So far, the group has directly helped ten young people and has 20 people under it. The aim is to get as many young people as possible across the South Yorkshire region involved to build a community and support network for young people who suffer from invisible illnesses.

The main aspects of the group are: drop in sessions; buddy systems; education programs for other young people; signposting and day trips (low cost or free).”

What’s worked?

“The Buddy System has proved to be very useful as this allows for people to socialise with others who understand life with an invisible illness at such a young age.”

What has she learned? Any challenges?

Charlie says: “Although Toni is a year post-op, (from having her brain tumour removed) she still suffers from sudden illnesses. This creates challenges with events and day-to-day life.

There was also the initial struggle to have her condition diagnosed. However, Paige’s Project is set out to raise awareness around these issues so Toni pushes through to help others.”

What’s next?

“Moving towards building a bigger support network across South Yorkshire and host study groups for those who suffer from invisible illnesses. Education can become very difficult with such medical conditions.

Toni is training to be a Youth and Community Worker in order to grow her project and achieve its aims by helping more young people.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help?

Another worker for professional assistance for those who come to Paige’s Project would help a lot. It would also be beneficial for the group for more people to know about it in order to grow the community.

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!

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