Oh baby! The milestones just keep on coming for the little boy dubbed South Tyneside’s “brave and mighty.”
Zack Hall was one of our Children of Courage at the 2015 Best of South Tyneside Awards.
The Best of South Tyneside Awards night was emotional. It was something very special to be a part ofNatalie Hall
The award recognised Zack’s incredible achievement of having fought acute myloid leukaemia since he was just 11 months old, had 76 doses of intense chemotherapy and 14 trips to hospital theatre.
But since then, life has changed remarkably for the two-year-old from South Shields.
He has now been in remission for one and a half years from the aggressive form of blood cancer, affecting 80 to 100 children each year.
It is cancer of the white blood cells and accounts for 5% of all childhood cancers.
He has also started at nursery in South Shields and is “really loving it,” said proud mum Natalie Hall, 30.
And perhaps the best news of all, he has become a big brother to Ivy, now six months.
It’s been an 18 months filled with drama for Zack, who started it all by being told he was winning his battle with leukaemia – and then was the pageboy in January last year at the wedding of his super-proud parents, Chris, 32, and Natalie, 30, at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Tyne Dock.
But another big highlight for Natalie was watching her son win the Child of Courage award when she was heavily pregnant with Ivy.
“It was very emotional,” she admitted. “It was something very special to be a part of. We have the trophy on display in the sitting room and Zack picks it up to show people that it’s his. He loves to do that.”
The courageous South Tyneside lad became known as “The Brave and Mighty Zack” by family for his battling spirit.
And it continues to this day, as Natalie explained. “He still has to go to hospital for his check-ups every six weeks, to make sure his blood is still clear of cancer.
“He understands the process there. He knows that he has to have his blood taken and they put it in a bottle.
“He knows he gets a little sweet afterwards and he sees the doctor.”
Zack is unlikely to completely get the all-clear from leukaemia until he is about seven years old. Until then, trips to the Royal Victoria Infirmary will remain a part of his life.
But he’s used to the process of travelling over the “green bridge” to get to the hospital and how he has to have his checkovers.
Zack was a well-deserved winner of the 2015 awards.
Now, the search has started for this year’s champions.
The Best of South Tyneside awards have a headline sponsor of Siemens and are being held in association with The Customs House, and with Port of Tyne, BT South Tyneside, Barbour, David Gray and Harlow Print as category sponsors.
The deadline for entries for the Young Performer competition is Monday, April 4.
After that, all the Young Performer finalists will get to perform at the Customs House, in South Shields, on Monday, April 18.
The deadline for entries in the overall competition is May 6. After that, judges will draw up a shortlist for each of the categories listed.
And then it’s on to the grand finale, which will be held this year at the Quality Hotel on June 9.
The awards will honour unsung stars. We know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards.
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