A TEENAGER who donated her bone marrow so her brother could have a life-saving transplant is in the running for a “young hero” award.

Grace Hardman, from Brandon, near Durham, underwent surgery earlier this year to help her brother Joseph, who has been diagnosed with leukaemia.

Grace, who is now 13 but was 12 at the time of the transplant, has now been nominated for a young hero award at an event run by Anthony Nolan, a charity which recruits people to join its bone marrow register in a bid to enable more people to have the treatment.

Her mum Joanne Hardman, who works at a nursery in Crook, said: “She was terrified at first because she didn’t know what to expect but she said straight away that if she was a match she would do it.

“She was determined to do it for her brother.”


She added: “We are so proud of Grace to step up at 12 years old and do that. She was so grown up and brave about it.

“The past year has been all about Joseph and she is the reason he is still here. She has done an amazing thing in the family’s eyes.”

When doctors told Joseph he would need a transplant, the whole family was tested to see if they were a match but Grace, who is a pupil at St Leonard’s School, Durham, was the only one able to donate.

In April, she spent three days at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, where she underwent surgery to drill into her hips to donate the bone marrow.

Joseph needed the transplant as part of his treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

The 18-year-old, who was diagnosed with the cancer last October, underwent several rounds of chemotherapy prior to the transplant.

Joseph had just started a plumbing course at New College Durham when he was diagnosed but has had to put his studies on hold.

Though his treatment has so far been successful he has not yet been well enough to go back to college and will not be able to attend the Anthony Nolan awards night in London.

Mrs Hardman, who will be going with Grace and her husband Darren, an operations manager at landscaping company Grace Landscapes, said: “It would be nice if people can see that someone so young can do it and raise awareness for everyone else to get on the register.

“There are plenty of children in the hospital waiting for a match who haven’t been as lucky as us.”

The chances of a sibling being a match are about 25 per cent and about 70 per cent of patients rely on donations from a stranger.