Young disabled carer from Rushden given British Citizen Award for charity work
A 19-year-old Rushden carer who has looked after her disabled mother for 11 years has been given a British Citizen Award for services to volunteering and charitable giving.
Natasha Krywald, who is autistic and has hereditary neuropathy with pressure palsies (an inherited condition that causes numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the limbs), received her award at a ceremony last week in the Palace of Westminster.
British Citizen Award winners are recognised for having had a meaningful impact on those around them.
Over the years, Natasha has participated in many charity events, including sleeping rough to raise money for care packages to give to the homeless, shaving her head, skydiving and letting an eight-year-old cancer patient tattoo her leg.
"Throughout my entire life whenever I tell people I'm disabled some of them give me a look and act as if I can't do anything," said Natasha, who was named young carer of the year in 2013.
"When I was in Reception they used to write in my report saying I wouldn't amount to much.
"When people tell me I can't do this or that I see it as a challenge and I say 'I'm going to show you that I can do it'."
She added: "When you have a passion I feel like nothing can stop you."
Not only as Natasha taken part in countless charity events, in 2016 she wrote a book - The Carers Companion - to teach and inform young carers like her.
Natasha was nominated for the award by her partner Callum Tompkins and a member of her local Rotary Club, who helped publish her book.
"I have had quite a difficult childhood but instead of making it a negative I have turned it into a positive," said Natasha, who lot her father to cancer when she was three years old.
"I had to figure it out for myself."
After spending the weekend in London after the award ceremony ("it was a special day and a very fancy occasion"), Natasha returned to Leicester where she studies criminology.
She hopes to use her degree to help reduce re-offending.