A brave 13-year-old boy has been honoured by his scouting group for his “tremendous courage” to support his little brother.
In 2018, Rhys Hanson donated his bone marrow to his younger brother Sam, who had been diagnosed a second time with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital was successful, and Sam was given another chance at life he may otherwise not have had.
Sadly, Sam, who had successfully fought leukaemia before it returned in 2018, became ill in 2019, and sadly passed away in April of that year, aged seven.
But Rhys’ selfless deed to his brother has not gone unrecognised, and following a nomination from his former head teacher at The Russell School in Chorleywood, Claire Pitt, Rhys, from the 1st Chorleywood Scouts, became the first person in the Rickmansworth and Chorleywood Scouts district’s history to receive the coveted Medal for Meritorious Conduct.
Ms Pitt said: “Rhys demonstrated immense bravery throughout the time of Sam’s illness. Not only did he provide Sam with love and moral support, he donated his bone marrow to enable Sam to have a bone marrow transplant.”
A virtual ceremony took place on January 8 to award Rhys with his medal, with his family, including his grandparents, present alongside leaders from Chorleywood Scouts, and commissioners from the district and county.
Rochelle Lowe, advanced nurse practitioner of haematology at Great Ormond Street Hospital said: “Some people may think nursing children with leukaemia would be a depressing job. But it’s anything but that.
“You get to meet the most amazing children and their amazing families. Sam Hanson was one of those children and the Hanson family one of those families.”
Ms Lowe added: “Sam’s leukaemia diagnosis was so unlucky, but he was so incredibly lucky to have Rhys as his brother. Rhys had to overcome some real fears to be his bone marrow donor. Did he face those fears head on? Yes he did! With the most incredible amount of bravery and courage.
“On behalf of everyone at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the haematology and bone marrow transplant teams, it is our complete honour to support this nomination for Rhys.”
Since Sam’s passing, Rhys and his friends have raised £2,500 for charity Spread a Smile in his brother’s memory.
To support Rhys’ fundraiser, click this link.