Children across the North East who have faced challenges most of us can only imagine, have been recognised for their strength of character in this year’s Brave Hearts Awards in Newcastle.

22 children from our region who have faced huge hurdles in their short lives in the form of serious life-threatening medical conditions were brought together at St James’ Park in Newcastle today (Thursday, November 24).

Each child received a crystal plinth and a gift of their choice, with many of the youngsters opting for an iPad, a Nintendo Switch or a virtual reality headset.

One of these deserving children was 4-year-old Harrison 'Bob' Dack from Newton Aycliffe.

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Harrison is undergoing treatment for a High-Risk Neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that develops from specialised nerve cells (neuroblasts) left behind from a baby's development in the womb.

Harrison, or 'Bob' as he prefers, has spent long periods of time in hospital away from his family, including his beloved 8-year-sister, Lola.

The Northern Echo: Harrison ('Bob') and his sister LolaHarrison ('Bob') and his sister Lola (Image: Danielle Cunliffe)

Harrison’s mum, Danielle Cunliffe, told The Northern Echo: “He’s the most strong-willed child you’ve ever known, he definitely knows his own mind. He was in surgery for almost nine hours and then woke up demanding Coco Pops!”

“He hasn’t stopped smiling and the staff from Darlington hospital absolutely love him. He was first diagnosed last year. I don’t want to say we’ve been lucky because there’s nothing lucky about a child with cancer but he has coped with the treatment better than a lot of others have.”

The Coco Pops-loving boy chose a PS5 as his gift.

The Northern Echo: Harrison 'Bob' DackHarrison 'Bob' Dack (Image: Danielle Cunliffe)

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Six-year-old Seth Heighway from Consett had his whole life turned upside down when he was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour on his brain stem.

He had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy and since then has had to learn to deal with a tracheotomy multiple scans and tests and daily medication.

The Northern Echo: Seth at the awards ceremonySeth at the awards ceremony (Image: Cal Carey)

The Northern Echo: Six-year-old Seth HeighwaySix-year-old Seth Heighway (Image: Leanne Murray)

Seth’s mum, Leanne Murray, told The Northern Echo: “He’s got such a strong spirit. Even on ICU he was playing cops and robbers with the nurses and the staff were all fighting over who had him that day.

“At first he had his face in his iPad, he didn’t want to talk to anyone on the ward but then something changed and suddenly he was making friends and you could just tell he was a lot happier in himself.

“I’m so proud of him, he’s been through so much with all the complications but now he actually looks forward to his days in hospital because he gets to see the nurses and his friends he’s met on the ward.”

Seth chose a virtual reality headset and smiled from ear to ear when he was presented with his award.

The Northern Echo: Seth has not stopped smiling throughout his ordeal and his mother Leanne described him as: The happiest boy you'll ever meet.Seth has not stopped smiling throughout his ordeal and his mother Leanne described him as: The happiest boy you'll ever meet. (Image: Leanne Murray)

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12-year-old Lucy Coatworth from Durham was another award-winner.

Lucy underwent treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects bones or the tissue around bones.

This has required chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the amputation of her right leg as a curative treatment.

Football-fan Lucy is now cancer-free and set to return to school and has ambitions of pursuing a sporting career.

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The Northern Echo: 12-year-ol Lucy Coatsworth from Durham12-year-ol Lucy Coatsworth from Durham (Image: Lisa Coastworth)

Lucy’s mum, Lisa Coatworth, told The Northern Echo: “I was surprised at first at how well she has coped with everything emotionally. She’s been very level-headed throughout the whole thing and when were first told about the leg amputation, she was just very matter-of-fact about it all.

“She’s been amazing throughout the whole thing. She’s hoping to get back to football as well. She’s always had a great sense of humour and that’s helped us all through this to be honest.

“Lucy’s taken it all in her stride. She’s been through the wars and she’s still smiling. When she was first told about the amputation at the RVI she knew it was the best thing for her and we’re just so proud of her resilience.”

Lucy chose an iPad for her gift, and was thrilled when she was presented with it.

The Northern Echo: Lucy Coatsworth getting her awardLucy Coatsworth getting her award (Image: Cal Carey)

The Northern Echo: Lucy is delighted to now be cancer-freeLucy is delighted to now be cancer-free (Image: Cal Carey)

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