Last week it was revealed that Crawley resident Kay Sugliano has been nominated for a Pride of Britain award, following her selfless and dedicated charity work for several UK charities and visits a rehabilitation centre in Jordan, for Syrian children who have been affected by the current conflicts.
Kay made it through to the final 4 nominations for the South East Region for ‘Fundraiser of the Year’, but sadly didn’t make it through to the final. Regardless, This is Our Town sat down with this incredible woman to hear her story.
Kay preparing toys and activity packs for the centre’s in Jordan.
Kay, who works as cabin crew for one of the UK’s premium airlines,spends the short time before the return flight visiting the centers personally, about once a month. started getting involved with charity work after losing her mother, father, and her 25 year old daughter all within the space of eight months. Despite her overwhelming grief, Kay began working tirelessly to raise money for various charities, whilst continuing to work full time.
Kay’s main focus at home in the UK is raising awareness and funds for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Cardiomyopathy UK. In 2011, Kay’s daughter Yasmina passed away in hospital from heart complications as a result of suffering from Cystic Fibrosis and Cardiomyopathy since birth. This was the final of the three devastating loses, after her mother and father, that prompted Kay to throw herself into charity work.
Kay’s daughter Yasmina, with her Grandad, Kay’s father.
As such an inspirational woman, we couldn’t wait to share her story.
Kay, How did you feel when you first found out you were nominated?
‘I knew nothing until ITV called me. They said out of thousands of people I was in the last 4 for the region’.
Who nominated you?
‘My friend Julie. I could have killed her’!
So how did you first get involved with the Malki Centre in Amman?
‘I work with two different hospitals in Jordan actually. I had been collecting things for Syria here in the UK through a friend of mine who was already involved. I was on a flight a few months ago and I met a doctor who works in Amman for Medecins San Frontiere Al mowasa Hospital in Amman. They take in children from Iraq, Gaza, and Syria who have been injured in the bombings and conflicts there’.
‘She told me they are there for reconstructive surgery and can stay there for up to nine months. I asked her if I could visit the hospital and bring some things in for the kids- so she emails me and put me in touch with someone at the hospital. Now we send a container of toys and supplies every 6-8 weeks overland directly into Syria for the children’.
The Medecins Sans Frontieres in Amman, there children are given reconstructive surgery for their injuries.
‘I have visited a few times and taken stuff directly to the children, but the problem is I’m limited to what I can take there; it has to be plastic washable toys only due to the high risk of infection to burns patients’.
I was left with so many things I couldn’t take to the children at this centre, so I needed to find somewhere else that would accept all the toys and supplies we had collected. So I contacted the Malki Centre in Amman, which is who I am lucky enough to be able to visit regularly as I travel there with work. It’s a centre for children who have been severely traumatised by what they have seen in the conflicts. Most have seen beheadings, some have seen their mothers raped and their fathers killed right in front of them. These are the children who have fled Syria and are now living in Amman. They literally have nothing. 30 children are chosen every every three months to come to the centre, where they are given councelling and therapy’.
‘Everything in the centre is donated, and all the staff are volunteers. Mostly Syrian. I just felt I needed to do something as it hurts my heart when I see what they have been through’.
‘When I go there, it’s hard seeing the children, I always cry afterwards when I think about what they have bee through’.
In the UK, as well as collecting for the children in Jordan, Kay creates awareness and fundraises on behalf of Cysstic Fibrosis and Cardiomyopathy UK.
We asked Kay how people can get in touch with her to donate items, toys or money to any of her causes, and she requests they get in touch with her Facebook. ‘People can contact me if they wish to donate clothes etc which will be sent in the container. We are looking for things like activity packs, pencils, books, and stickers to take the Malki Centre, or small washable toys for the hospital’.
Kay’s selfless actions have given hope and support to hundreds of people both here in the UK and abroad, as well as raising thousends of pounds for good causes. She is a huge inspiration to modern women, and a credit to Crawley for putting our town on the map for donating her time and efforts to such incredible cause.
Kay is listed under her ‘Kay Sugliano’ on Facebook. You can still watch her nomination video on http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2016-10-13/pride-of-britain-itvs-fundraiser-of-the-year-thursdays-nominees/