The dog which spotted a South Tyneside boy's cancer - eight weeks before he was diagnosed

Meet the brave South Tyneside hero who is fighting cancer with a very special best friend at his side.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 15th July 2019, 1:03 pm
Nathan Curry with his 'best friend' Barney the Bedlington Terrier who has been a constant companion during his fight with leukaemia.

Battling eight-year-old Nathan Curry from Jarrow was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia just four weeks ago.

But one of the family’s pet dogs, Barney the two-year-old Bedlington terrier, realised something was up long before that.

Eight weeks before Nathan’s diagnosis, Barney began following Nathan around, said mum Sue Curry, 46.

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Nathan manages a smile from his hospital bed.

“He would not leave Nathan’s bedside and we would joke to him ‘you’ve got a best friend there’. But I think Barney realised Nathan was not well. He would not leave Nathan’s side until he had fallen asleep.

“And when Nathan went into hospital, Barney would not eat. Bless him, he never ate for eight days while we were in hospital and his back end was failing but as soon as Nathan come home he started to get better.”

Barney is now back to full fitness and remains close to Nathan as he fights his illness.

Sue also paid tribute to her daughter Chloe, nine, who is Nathan’s big sister, for the way she has also been there for her brother.

Nathan in his wheelchair on the day he paid a balloon tribute to his grandad John Curry on Father's Day.

“She takes his temperature for me in the mornings and does little things for him all day. She brings her friends round to play with Nathan.”

It’s not been easy for Chloe either as she was very close to her grandad John Curry, who died aged 74 in April from heart failure.

She’s been so brave as she copes with both grief and watching her little brother’s health struggles, said Sue.

She hailed Nathan for the courageous way he has fought leukaemia. It’s a fight which he will wage for at least another three and a half years while he undergoes chemotherapy.

The Best of South Tyneside sponsors.

Now both Nathan and Chloe have been nominated for Best of South Tyneside Awards and Sue said: “It would mean so much to them both if they won. They have been through so much and this would give them so much encouragement.”

It was back on June 7 this year that Nathan was diagnosed. Sue said: “He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle after coughing blood.

“He was very poorly. He was anaemic and he had a blood transfusion.”

Nathan is now mostly confined to the house because his immune system is so low.

Nathan and Chloe enjoy some precious time together.

Sue said: “Generally he is a bubbly character and he is positive but he has said ‘Am I going to die’

“But he also keeps saying ‘I am going to be alright’ and ‘I am going to live a normal life’.”

Nathan and Chloe join an incredible lost of awards nominees so far.

We want to know about the unsung heroes, community champions, inspirational children and fantastic sports people for this year’s awards which will be taking nominations until Friday, August 30.

Then it is on to the grand finale which will be held on Thursday, September 19 at the Roker Hotel.

The Best of South Tyneside awards, this year, have the support of Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Tyne Coast College, Barbour, JML, Harlow Print, UTS, and Warmseal.

To nominate, send us the full name, phone number and email address, of the person you wish to nominate and the category you want to nominate them for, along with description of why they are worthy of an award. And if you are submitting an entry in the Young Performer category, send us a video of them performing. Send your entries by email to: [email protected] or to

The categories:

Green Champion of the Year.

Child of Achievement.

Fundraiser of the Year.

Entrepreneur of the Year.

Local Hero Award.

Sporting Excellence/Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Sports Team of the Year.

Community Champion.

Student of the Year.

Community Group.

Small Business of the Year.

Large Business of the Year.

Child of Courage

Young Performer of the Year.

Lifetime Contribution.

Special Recognition.