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Pride in Medway - Gayna Simmonds

A Strood volunteer who works selflessly for others has been nominated for a Pride in Medway award.

Gayna Simmonds, one of the founders of the Medway Autism Group Information Centre (MAGIC), has been put forward for the community involvement category.

MAGIC, which is based in Darnley Road, Strood, provides support and information for parents with children who have autism, aspergers and autistic spectrum disorder in the Medway Towns.

Gayna has been nominated by Stephanie Anderson of Rochester.

Stephanie said: "When my boy was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder my family found emotional support and understanding at MAGIC. MAGIC is run by parents of autistic children and therefore they are able to give advice from their own experiences. Gayna was invaluable, she works tirelessly and voluntarily to ensure all parents are given help, support and even a shoulder to cry on.

"Her philosophy is to support the whole family. As part of this, Gayna organises family outings. I cannot express how incredible it is to take your child out without having to worry about you or your child being judged.

"The MAGIC office is Gayna's life. She is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. I will be eternally grateful for the practical and emotional support she has given to me and countless other families who, without organisations like MAGIC, would be isolated and alone.

"Gayna has given so much of herself to so many. I think it would be a fitting tribute for her work to be acknowledged."

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