AN INSPIRATIONAL family has been hailed as heroes.
The Hart family was nominated by friends after the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre launched a challenge to find the borough’s most inspiring household as part of National Family Week.
Due to the large number, prizes were also awarded to three very deserving runners-up.
The Hart family have had a difficult year after their three-year-old son, Ben, fell critically ill in January.
His parents became concerned after their previously boisterous and lively child suddenly became very quiet and reserved.
Mum Eve and dad Stuart, a police officer for Lancashire Constabulary, knew something was terribly wrong and took him to doctors who initially dismissed his condition, believing he was suffering from an unidentified virus. But his parents refused to take no for an answer and sensing something was seriously wrong, sought a second and third opinion.
After numerous tests and scans he was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the lymphatic system, Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
Ben has now been in Manchester Children’s Hospital since March where he continues his fierce battle to get well as he undergoes chemotherapy.
Grandmother Olga nominated the family for their amazing strength in a terrible situation.
The Hart family has won a £500 Grand Arcade gift card and a night’s stay at Alton Tower’s Resort in Staffordshire, with a family ticket to the theme park. They will defer the prize until Ben gets better.
Mum Eve, a teacher at Leigh Sacred Heart School, is now expecting her second child.
She said: “If you believe your child is ill, make sure you pursue it and trust your parental instincts.”
The runner-up families were also rewarded for their entries into the competition. Fiona Morrison nominated the Jones family for their services in fostering more than 30 children.
Margaret Dean nominated the Dagnall family due to their integrity and local involvement and the family of the late Carly Fairhurst family were nominated by Natalie Traynor due to them raising thousands of pounds for victim support after their daughter lost her life to domestic violence.
All three families were given a £50 Grand Arcade gift card.
Centre Manager of Grand Arcade Shopping Centre John Sanson said: “I was really touched by the entries into the competition and it was so humbling to meet the winning families and hear their stories.”