HELLO!'s Star Women Awards took place on Thursday 17 December in a virtual ceremony hosted by Kate Silverton. The third award of the night was Hello To Kindness, which was voted for by HELLO! readers and was presented to mother-of-two and scientist, Priya Vara. Watch the video above to find out more about our well-deserving winner.
Priya has been fundraising to raise £50,000 for Hillingdon Hospital to build a bereavement suite after suffering the devastating stillborn birth of her son Shayen three years ago. A full-time scientist, Priya juggles her job with looking after her and her husband's two daughters, aged six and 18 months, with fundraising for the hospital, which has included encouraging friends and family to donate, organising Diwali and Christmas events for children and producing advent calendars and stocking fillers to sell and raise funds for the cause.
Priya is also constantly consulting with the staff at Hillingdon on their plans for the bereavement suite, which will see bereaved parents given a safe space to process their loss, far away from the maternity and ante-natal wards that is often the experience for other mothers (and was the experience for Priya herself). In addition, Priya offers online support to other bereaved parents and has appeared on television to discuss her experience, in the hope of encouraging others who have experienced the same to talk about their emotions and get the help they need to process what has happened.
She and her husband have paid for waterpumps in Shayen's name to provide safe water for residents in the Indian state of Gujarat, as well as helping provide supplies for schoolchildren in the area. They continue to fundraise for ongoing projects in India in their son's name.
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Our Star Women winners were each presented with a luxurious goodie bag worth over £400, which included a £150 voucher to spend at Childrensalon, a mini Kensington handbag by Kurt Geiger, a candle by Candalia, a bottle of No1 Wildflower Gin by Cotswolds Distillery and a Verbena Festive Bauble by L'Occitane.