AN INSPIRATIONAL woman with autism has won an international award for her work.

Joely Colmer, 24, who has Asperger's Syndrome, thanked Daily Echo readers for rallying together to send her on the trip of a lifetime to the prestigious ANCA World Autism Festival in Vancouver, Canada where she was announced as the winner of the World Community Achievement Award and honoured with a World Ambassador Award.

She said: "It was an adventure that changed my life. Words cannot describe how happy I felt when I heard I won the award.

"All the pain, the bullying, the isolation and frustrations of autism, it was all worth it because it had taught me so many valuable lessons on how to help others through similar difficulties and now, with these awards, I know I am making a difference and that's all that has ever mattered to me."

Joely, of Winton, was born with Asperger's Syndrome and a range of medical problems including being partially deaf and unable to speak until she was seven years old.

At mainstream school she suffered in the hands of bullies and as a result has PTSD.

However testament to her positivity, Joely chose to turn her negative experiences around to help herself and hundreds of others.

She dedicates her time to voluntary work raising awareness about the issues surrounding autism including taking part in local and national events, workshops and public speaking.

Joely launched a fundraising appeal for help with her air fare to Canada so she could represent the UK at the international event and host workshops there to educate professionals and inspire others who have autism. Within weeks, she raised hundreds of pounds.

Joely said: “I feel so happy I'm an autism ambassador. I want to spark the fire of positive change into the hearts of many by inspiring people to understand the hidden hardships, quirks and diversity of the autistic spectrum and empower and enable lives.

"As an ambassador I can now extend my outreach to help more people."

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