A 13-year-old from Chorleywood has been awarded a special medal for showing immense bravery throughout the time of his brother’s illness.
On January 8, Rhys, who is from 1st Chorleywood Scouts received the Medal for Meritorious Conduct by the Scout Association, the first medal of this type to be awarded in the district’s history.
It is only given to those who show exceptional dedication to the Scouts despite the difficulties they have endured.
Rhys sadly lost his brother Sam in 2019, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
He patiently watched his brother go through weeks of treatment while he was away from his family.
By the end of summer 2016, Sam was in remission with expectations of a full recovery, but sadly, In summer 2018 Sam’s Leukaemia returned and he ended up in Great Ormond Street in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Rhys was a perfect match and he showed tremendous courage in agreeing to go ahead with the transplant as it is much more painful and risky for the donor than the recipient.
Sadly Sam got an infection just before Easter and passed away in April 2019. Since then, Rhys and his friends have raised over £2,500 for Spread a Smile in his memory.
“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.” said Claire Pitt, headteacher.
Rochelle Lowe, advanced nurse practitioner 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 is one of those families.
“Rhys, Sam’s leukaemia diagnosis was so unlucky, but he was so incredibly lucky to have you as his brother. You had to overcome some real fears to be his bone marrow donor. Did you face those fears head on? Yes you did! With the most incredible amount of bravery and courage.”
Due to lockdown restrictions the presentation took place on Zoom and this meant that Rhys’ grandparents could join in the celebration.
They joined with Sam and Rhys’ leaders from Chorleywood Scouts, and commissioners from the district and county.