A STUDENT who campaigns to raise awareness about invisible illnesses has been honoured by the Prime Minister.

Sophie Ainsworth, who is studying English Literature at Durham University, founded the Raising Awareness of Invisible Illnesses in Schools and Education (RAiISE) project, after being diagnosed with lupus, which causes the body’s immune system to attack a person’s own tissues.

She has now received the Points of Light volunteering award.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The Points of Light programme recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a real difference in their communities.

“Through RAiISE you are changing the mindset of teachers and peers who misunderstood your lupus diagnosis. Your organisation is challenging the misconceptions of invisible illnesses and giving young patients and their families invaluable support.”

The 19-year-old, who is a member of Josephine Butler College, and originally from West Bradford, Lancashire, said: “It’s incredible, and a little bit unbelievable, to know that my small organisation is getting recognised by the Prime Minister.

“It’s fantastic to have this awareness of both invisible illnesses and lupus. It was made particularly special as I received the award in October, which is Lupus Awareness Month.”

Professor Adrian Simpson, principal of Josephine Butler College, said: “Everyone in the college will be very proud of Sophie’s achievement.

“The award she has received is not only apt recognition of her efforts, but will inspire all our other students and staff who undertake volunteering and charitable activities in the local community and nationally.”