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On board to treat brave boy; FAMILY: Bus dream come true.

Byline: By Gurdip Thandi

A BRAVE boy who suffers from a rare spinal condition was given a special treat which was just the ticket.

Bus mad Nathan Oakley, aged eight, spent a morning at Travel West Midlands' West Bromwich depot.

As well as handing out tickets to his family and getting to "drive" the bus, Nathan was taken on a tour of the building and saw first-hand how a busy depot operates.

It was a welcome boost for Nathan, who lives in Oldbury with his parents Jo and Dave and 15-year-old sister Fran.

He was diagnosed with MPS 1 - Hurler Syndrome at a few months old and doctors said it was terminal without a bone marrow transplant.

A donor saved Nathan's life but he still has major skeletal issues, which have resulted in two spinal operations.

He has also had other operations and will need treatment for the rest of his life.

But his doting aunt Alison Sabin, who arranged the visit to the bus depot, said her nephew was a little star who never complained about his condition.

"Nathan has had a difficult time ever since he was born and last year was particularly traumatic with numerous hospital stays and six major operations," she said.

"But Nathan never complains, he just gets on with it. He's a terrific little boy with a wonderful sense of humour, and he is such fun to be with.

"I wanted Nathan to have a treat because he deserves the best, he is such a special and very brave little boy."

Staff Tony Devenney and Jenny Tocknell went out of their way to make the morning special for Nathan.

"He was allowed to "drive" the bus with Tony and he was allowed to give us all tickets, we went through the bus wash and looked at all the other areas in the depot," Alison said.

"Tony and Jenny were wonderful, kind and thoughtful.

"Everyone at the depot was so kind to Nathan."

CAPTION(S):

JUST THE TICKET!... Nathan Oakley with Tony Devenney, of West Midlands Travel, at the West Bromwich depot.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 8, 2008
Words:347
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