2023 Courage Awards

2023 Courage Awards

The 18th annual Courage Awards ceremony, presented by James H. Brown & Associates was held on November 14, 2023. Two courageous Glenrose Hospital patients were recognized with a Courage Award at the event – Akira and Arya.


Akira Neeson

In 2008, Akira’s life was shaken by her first intracerebral hemorrhage, a terrible side effect of moyamoya disease. Rather than letting it break her spirit, she channelled her resilience and embarked on a journey to become a teacher. Akira also led the Edmonton Stroke Recovery Association, providing education and mentoring students in balance and stimulation skills.

Then, in February 2022, another right striatal intracerebral hemorrhage struck. It required a craniotomy and a shunt. It drained all her strength, but Akira wasn’t one to surrender. Akira found herself back at the Glenrose; she had to relearn how to walk, starting from a wheelchair and then using a brace. Despite her arm recovering slower than she liked, she pushed for independence. After leaving the hospital, she supported new stroke survivors and volunteered at the Glenrose as a navigator.

Akira is the first-ever two-time Courage Award recipient.

Facing a chronic condition, Akira’s positivity and ability to bring joy to others demonstrates her courage. Her story is about not just surviving but thriving, against all odds.

YouTube video


Arya Redekop

Arya, a resilient 3-year-old, has faced incredible challenges in her life. A severe infection led to skin grafting, causing burn-like wounds on her arms and torso. She also suffered a brain bleed that further affected her legs, hands, and eyes.

After stabilizing at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Arya embarked on long-term rehab at the Glenrose Hospital. She’s worked hard to regain her ability to walk, eat, use both hands and play with her special toys. Despite her ongoing skin care needs, Arya continues to shine with her smiles, courage during tough therapies, and her ability to bring joy to others in the hospital. Arya tackles therapy every day, showing bravery when faced with scary or painful tasks. She had a dedicated Child Life team to help her prepare for procedures and keep her family informed. Other children at the hospital are motivated by her positive energy, and she inspires older patients to face their therapies with courage.

At just three years old, Arya is a role model, and in the face of difficulty and fear, she is a symbol of hope and light for everyone around her.

YouTube video

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