An inspirational young man who is still smiling despite dealing with the side effects of gruelling treatment has been given an award.

Luke Rudge, 12, from Barnard Castle, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in October last year and requires over two years of treatment.

His treatment journey has not been straight-forward and Luke has had to cope with adverse reactions to his medication, changes to his care and spending more time in hospital, including over weekends.

He is a pupil at The Oaks in Spennymoor and loves school so not being able to attend has been especially hard on him as he misses seeing his friends and the staff.

Darlington and Stockton Times: His grandma, Lindsey Rudge, said: “He is going through his chemo at the minute so it is tough but he is doing alright.

“Things seem to be going into the right direction and the hospital seem to be happy with the progress that is being made.

“He is coming to the end of the most intense part and then he goes into the maintenance part, which is where they mop up any leukaemia cells that are left and make sure it does not come back.

“It is still going to be part of our lives for two to three years.”

The strength he has shown in dealing with his illness earned him a Brave Hearts award.

He received it along with a new laptop at a special awards ceremony at St James’ Park on Thursday.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Darlington and Stockton Times: Lindsey added: “It has had a huge impact on him and it has not been easy but he does really well.

“Sometimes he is very poorly with it. He cannot walk and feels sick.

“It is awful but it has to be done.  

“He is dead chuffed with the award. He thinks it great, especially as he got to go to the football stadium.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: