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Heartbroken Mark did so much to help his beautiful little sister in her last days.

Byline: Laura Woodcock Reporter

MARK Bell makes his parents burst with pride. The 14-year-old has proved to be an inspiration to others with his fundraising since the tragic day his little sister passed away. His parents have now taken the step to nominate the teenager for a Gazette Community Champions award. "What Mark has been through in the last three years, no child should ever have to go through," said his mum Julie, 43. "We are so proud of him." Mark and his family were given the devastating news in 2011 that his then six-year-old little sister Becky had a brain tumour. The schoolgirl had been poorly and complaining of headaches and blurred vision but, after numerous trips to hospital, doctors were unable to provide a diagnosis. But one night, Becky lost her sight and was rushed to Sunderland Eye Infirmary. Then at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary she under went a brain scan. The results showed she had an inoperable tumour the size of a tennis ball around her brain stem. She was given less than 10% chance of survival. Becky then had to undergo intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy but her family said she never once complained and always kept smiling. Just before Christmas 2011, another brain scan showed the tumour had shrunk by 80% to about the size of a pea, but sadly, in the January, the family was told the tumour had returned. It was more aggressive and there was no further treatment for Becky. Just two weeks later, the seven-year-old passed away surrounded by her family.

"When we were told the devastating news we were going to lose Becky, Mark was heartbroken that his beautiful sister was going to die," said Julie, who lives with husband Mark, 38, and her family in Hartlepool. "Everything Mark could do to make her short life more comfortable, he did it. We were told Becky was going to lose her sight and the use of her hands so Mark went round taking pictures of things such as a plate, a cup and her favourite toy and make them into a book for her so she could tell us what she wanted." Julie, also mum to Vicki, 25, said: "We are so proud of him." And she added: "When Becky passed away we were all devastated but Mark was determined her memory would live on. "He has obviously had his bad days but he has kept us going." Julie has nominated her son, a pupil at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College in Hartlepool, in the Champion Child of Courage category. Sponsored by Northumbrian Water, this award is for a youngster who, in his or her young life, has already displayed remarkable courage, makes you want to burst with pride, and provides a leading example for others to follow. Mark, who has been fundraising for charity CLIC Sargent since his sister's death, said he was "over the moon" be be nominated. "Mark is the best son anyone could wish for," said Julie. "He has been through so much and we are so proud of what he does to help others."



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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 23, 2014
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