BRAVE Belbroughton schoolboy Finley Hill, who is recovering well after undergoing a second lifesaving stem cell transplant, is in the running for a top national award.
Finn, as he’s known, has been shortlisted for the John Petchey Young Hero of the Year at this year’s Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards.
The award recognises young supporters aged 16 or under who have made a difference to the lives of other people with blood cancer – either by personally supporting Anthony Nolan or inspiring others to support the charity.
Hagley Primary School pupil Finn, who has been battling rare immune disorder familial HLH (familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) which leads to damaged and enlarged organs, has been recovering well from his second stem cell transplant since ‘ringing the bell’ in January after a five week-stay in Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
His family have posted regular updates on social media about his progress and they recently shared a heart-warming video of Finn presenting news of his latest milestones and achievements in which the youngster revealed he has been shortlisted for the prestigious Anthony Nolan award.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Tower of London next Wednesday (June 14).
Henny Braund MBE, chief executive at Anthony Nolan, said: “Finn is such an inspiration to us here at Anthony Nolan.
"The John Petchey Young Hero of the Year award recognises a young supporter who has made a difference in the lives of blood cancer patients, and like all our nominees, Finn is a shining example.
"The way he has shared his transplant story with so much humour and a smile on his face in order to encourage more people to sign up to the register is amazing. His nomination is well deserved and it’ll be great to see him at the ceremony.”
See the full shortlist online at anthonynolan.org (live from Friday June 9).
Speaking in a video report on his Facebook page, Finn, aged 11, said: “I’m honoured to have been nominated in the John Petchey Young Hero award category. Even if I don’t win it will be such a special night that I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of.”
He also told how he and his family will be returning to give an update on his story on June 15 on ITV’s This Morning which united the family with Finn’s first hero stem cell donor Jose Nata Da Silva, from Brazil, in an emotional on-air meeting last summer.
Tragically, just months after the uplifting moment on the show – Finn was found to be in need of a second transplant which he underwent on December 12, 2022, after a second suitable stem cell donor was found.
The new donor, a 45-year-old man from Portugal, was found to be a 10 out of 10 match for Finn.
However, without the first donation of stem cells from Brazilian hero donor Jose, who was a nine out of 10 match, back in 2019 after an international search - Finn may not have survived.
Via his Facebook video reports, Finn has been doing his bit to urge young people, aged 16 to 30, to help save others in his position by signing up to the stem cell donor register online at anthonynolan.org
The plucky schoolboy also told how he’s “super excited” to be heading to high school in September and how he’s started taking acting and singing lessons to get back into musical theatre and doing all the things he loves now that he’s on the road to recovery.
His mum Jo Hill told how she's just received welcome news that Finn's donor levels have now started to increase - almost six months post-transplant.
She said: "It's all finally settled now and doing what it needs to do - long may it continue. We're chuffed to bits to hear that it's going in the right directon."
She said it was "quite a shock" to hear about Finn's award nomination but she added: "It's so amazing. It's just a lovely thing for him to be acknowledged for his efforts in trying to get other people onto the donor register. It's really lovely."