2018 Winner – Cheshire Woman of the Year
Lisa is mum to four boys, Oscar, 14, Casper, 12 and seven year old twins Felix and Herbie.
In 2013, Lisa and her husband, Karl, during a routine visit to hospital found that Felix, then just 2, had an incurable disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This was something the family hadn’t heard of before. It is the most common fatal genetic disease diagnosed in childhood affecting approximately 1 in 3500 boys and 1 in 50 million girls. Duchenne is a progressive muscle wasting disorder and by the age of 12 many children are confined to a wheelchair. The heart and lungs are affected and it leads to premature death. As Lisa says, nothing at all can ever prepare or help you to hear such heart breaking and devastating news.
However, they decided not to just accept the sentence that had been handed to them. They picked themselves up to fight…. and so Team Felix was born, with the aim to fund research into Duchenne and to find viable treatments to help this generation of boys. With the help of family, friends and supporters they organised many events raising thousands of pounds for research.
Then just two years later in 2015, devastatingly, Karl passed away after a short battle with cancer. Most people would have understandably fallen apart …but also would have had the time to grieve. Lisa didn’t, she has not just held her family together, she has enabled them to grieve and flourish as much as they possibly could whilst managing the devastating loss of their Dad. She also knew that she had to carry on for the sake of Felix by doing all she possibly can to raise funds and awareness of this heart-breaking condition. Karl, even after months of treatments said, “If Felix could have my life it would be a dream”. This symbolises the total devastation Duchenne has on families.
Hope is now what keeps Lisa going. Hope that treatments can be accessed in time to help Felix and all others affected by Duchenne. Hope that treatments can help not only their quality of life but the underlying disease… only time is the enemy.
With Karl and her boys as inspiration, Lisa now runs the family business and continues to fundraise for Team Felix and works with the charity Duchenne UK. She sits on their Patient Advisory Board and has recently become an Advocacy Support Officer.
Lisa is grateful for the help of a fabulous family and friends and she would like to thank each and every one of them for all their continued support with the boys, fundraising and charity work.
Her good friend Sarah Marston (here today also as a Cheshire Woman Award nominee) has been instrumental in helping with Team Felix over the past couple of years. An idea of Karl’s was to hold a Family Festival and in his memory Lisa (with Sarah’s help) has made Fefest an annual event – last year raising £57000 for Duchenne UK. Plans are well under way for FeFest 2018.
Lisa said “I don’t have a choice; I must fight to help Felix and others with Duchenne, but Sarah and all our other supporters do have that choice. I am constantly blown away by their commitment and generosity to help end Duchenne.” This is why Lisa is our Cheshire Woman of the Year 2018. Her phenomenal strength and courage in the most difficult of situations is awe inspiring.
Guest Speaker – Annabel Tiffin
Annabel Tiffin’s career in journalism began over twenty years ago when she worked on the Stockport Express newspaper. She moved to the Midlands where she worked in radio and television until 2003 when she returned to the North West to work at BBC.
Firstly she produced and presented the late news bulletin on North West Tonight. In addition she presented the Sunday Politics Show for 5 years.
In 2012 Annabel was appointed to the job of main presenter on North West Tonight, where she can regularly be seen at 6.30pm and sometimes she presents the late bulletin too.
She lives in Cheshire with her husband and two children and a menagerie of animals.
Annabel was our guest ten years ago and we are delighted that she is here with us again this year.
The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of the City of Chester Councillor Razia Daniels
Councillor Razia Daniels is truly delighted to be the Lord Mayor of Chester. She brings to the role a wealth of experience having been a councillor for over 11 years.
Razia has sat on a number of committees including Planning, Audit and Governance, Standards and Appeals. She has served as Assistant Executive Member for Ageing Well, Chairman of the Ageing Well Policy Commission and Deputy Chairman
When Razia was Member Champion for Equality and Diversity, a particular passion of hers, the council achieved the highest level of excellence for the Equality Framework for Local Government.
While Razia was Chairman of the Member Learning Panel, the council achieved the North West Employers Charter level two and the MJ Exemplar Award.
Razia is the ward member for Handbridge Park covering Handbridge, Westminster Park and Curzon Park.
Her chosen charities for her year as Lord Mayor are DIAL West Cheshire, The UNITY Centre (CHAWREC) and St Mary’s Handbridge Community Centre.
Speaking after her inauguration Councillor Daniel’s said: “I am truly delighted to be the Lord Mayor of Chester. This is such an honour and privilege for me. During my year in office I would like to celebrate community spirit and bring together as many people as possible developing new networks and groups.”
Razia was born in Dodoma, Tanzania, East Africa and has lived in Chester since her marriage to Stephen in 1985.
She is a professional gemmologist and member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Her interests include English Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco design and Gemmology.
Nominees of 2018 and their guests
Lisa Kulwald - Winner 2018
Karen Jones MBE
Tracey Vell MBE
Violet Pritchard (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Nominees unable to attend:
Hannah Louise Jones
Hannah Louise Rose