Inspiring Vale youngster continues to reach for the stars as he joins army cadets

An inspiring Vale youngster who won a Pride of Britain Award is continuing to reach for the stars and has now joined the army cadets.

Aaron Hunter touched the hearts of the nation in 2019 when he picked up the Good Morning Britain Young Fundraiser of the Year accolade for his incredible work to find a cure for his rare disease.

The brave lad, who is now 12, still talks about the moment he won the award, which he has sitting pride of place in the living room at his Alexandria home.

The youngster’s work helping combat terminal condition ROHHAD has touched hearts across the globe and he has helped raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for his charity, which was set up to find a cure for the disease.

Aaron was particularly ill at the time of the awards but life-changing surgery has given him a new zest for life, which has seen him recently join the army cadets.

Proud mum Lisa French said: “The awards were a wonderful experience for Aaron and he talks about it a lot.

“He was so humble when he won it. He said ‘I don’t know if I really deserve this. I’ve not done anything really special’.

“What mattered to him the most was that he collected the award on behalf of all the other ROHHAD children.

“Despite what he goes through on a daily basis, he is always thinking of others.”

She said hearing the stories of the other award winners is something Aaron holds to his heart, adding: “He loved meeting the celebrities but the people he talks about the most are the other award winners.

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“He was really ill at the time and I can’t believe we are here three years later because I honestly thought we were going to lose him. He is still unwell but he has a new lease of life.

Aaron receiving his Pride of Britain award in 2019

“He’s recently joined the army cadets and he’s really enjoying that.”

She told how he wanted to help others and make a difference, explaining: “He will experience all that the cadets has to offer him and teach him as far as his body allows him to.

“I don’t know how long my son will live for, he isn’t expected to reach adulthood but I also know that with the right attitude and passion for life, we are all capable of surpassing expectations.

“Aaron continues to surpass expectations and no matter how short his life is going to be, it will be a life well lived and one where he makes a difference.

“That’s what he wants to do and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Extraordinary Scottish heroes have been at the heart of the Pride of Britain Awards for more than 20 years and now they take center stage at home too, with Pride of Scotland.

Lisa urged residents to get nominated, saying we all know somebody who has made an incredible mark on the world.

Aaron with friend and supporter Robert Downey Jr

She added: “The awards is about celebrating and recognizing some of the most remarkable people we have.

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“Scotland is full of local champions who go above and beyond and I’m proud Aaron is one of those special people.

“We all know somebody who is a local hero and what an incredible way to recognize them.”

The Daily Record has now launched nominations for this year’s awards.

Robin Bulloch, CEO (interim) of TSB, said: “The last two years have shown us all, more than ever, the importance and the incredible power of strong communities.

“At TSB, we’re proud to continue our partnership with the Pride of Scotland Awards – a celebration of amazing acts of kindness and courage in the face of adversity from people up and down the country.”

David Dick, editor-in-chief of Reach (Scotland) said: “Heroes come in every shape and size. They rarely seek attention, yet what they do changes and transforms the lives of others – in one simple act or in a lifetime’s work. Pride of Scotland is a celebration of their achievements.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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