USA Network has selected former Fenton resident and anti-bullying speaker Gabrielle Ford as a 2012 recipient of the Characters Unite Award.
"Congratulations to this year's Characters Unite Award winners who deserve to be recognized for their tireless work in fighting hate and discrimination and promoting acceptance in their communities," said Bridget Baker, President, NBC Universal TV Networks Distribution in a press release.
This summer, each Characters Unite Award honoree will be acknowledged during a hometown award ceremony and will receive a $5,000 grant from USA Network and participating local MVPDs to support his/her project or related nonprofit organization. Additionally, honorees will be featured on-air in a PSA and online at charactersunite.com. Nominations for the Characters Unite Awards were submitted by the public on charactersunite.com during Characters Unite Month in February, a time when the network leverages all its platforms to shine a special spotlight on the importance of combating hate and intolerance.
Ford suffers from Friedriech's Ataxia, a debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder that weakens the body's muscles, which can make even speaking difficult. Ford endured years of bullying before teaming up with her dog Izzy to travel to schools across the county spreading the message that unlike her disease and many others, bullying is a choice.
Her message has reached many as she has has appeared in Animal Planet’s A Pet Story, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Today Show, Guideposts Magazine, and MDA’s Quest Magazine. She also has an award-winning memoir titled Still Dancing. Delta Kappa Gamma also recently awarded Ford with the The Distinguished Service Award.