A YOUNG mother who had only recently recovered from meningitis threw herself into York's flood relief efforts - only to suffer another bout of the illness.
Nicole O'Donnell, 21, of Woodthorpe, had to use a wheelchair for six months after she fell seriously ill last spring, first with pneumonia and then bacterial meningitis.
She was still suffering a little from problems such as fatigue and memory loss just after Christmas when she saw on the news about the plight of York's flood victims.
Nicole, who has a two-year-old daughter Amelia, was determined to do what she could to help and went out collecting supplies and then delivering aid packages to inundated residents in areas such as Navigation Road and Huntington Road.
But then as New Year's Eve approached, she started feeling ill again and was eventually taken by ambulance to York Hospital. She was given powerful antibiotics as a precautionary measure, which caused agonising abdominal pain, before doctors eventually discovered she had developed an unrelated bout of viral meningitis.
"They thought it might have been caused by contact with contaminated floodwater as I was already run down," she said.
Asked why she went out to help the flood victims, she said: "When I saw about the floods, I felt I had to do something. I could have died when I got the meningitis last year and when I left hospital I was told I might never walk again and needed intensive physiotherapy.
"I felt I had got the use of my legs back again and needed to help people who had lost their homes.
"I had no idea I could develop the illness a second time. The doctors said it was very rare."
When Nicole recovered from the New Year illness, she got involved again in the flood relief effort, this time by helping a friend to organise a fundraising event.
Now she has been nominated for a York & District Medal by her proud grandmother, Beryl Wild of Dringhouses, who said: "Nicole worked for 12 hours sometimes, making up care packages and distributing them.
"She delivered leaflets in town and phoned local businesspeople for donations. These are only a few of the examples of her lending a helping hand.
"When she was discharged, she still carried on helping the good causes. We are all very proud of her dedication."
The medal, organised by The Press and City of York Council with sponsorship from York-based mutual healthcare provider, Benenden, is intended to recognise the people or organisations who came to the rescue of homes and businesses which were inundated in the period after Christmas.
*To nominate your flood heroes email email@example.com with your name, address and contact details, plus the name and contact details (if available) of the person you are nominating, and explain the reasons for the nomination. Alternatively, send your completed nominations to York & District Medal, Newsdesk, The Press, 84-86 Walmgate, York YO1 9YN.