A SCHOOLBOY who was diagnosed with leukaemia four years ago is getting ready for an extra special Christmas as he celebrates being in remission from the disease.

And as eleven-year-old Owen Pattison looks forward to his first treatment-free Christmas since his diagnosis he is doing his bit for other children with cancer by launching an awards scheme to recognise their courage.

Owen, from Yeadon, is joining forces with his five brothers to highlight the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards, in partnership with TK Maxx.

Following his own diagnosis just before Christmas in 2014 Owen was nominated for the award by his mum Michelle.

Now Michelle, dad Steve and brothers - Ryan,19, Luke,18, Vinny,13, Kyle,10, and Ollie,7 - are encouraging people to nominate young cancer patients in the run up to Christmas.

All children whose names are put forward will receive a trophy, a £50 gift card, t-shirt and a certificate signed by famous names, including Strictly Come Dancing’s Dr Ranj, Dame Emma Thompson, Una Healy, Aston Merrygold, and children’s entertainer Mister Maker. Siblings will also receive certificates.

Owen, who started at Guiseley School this September, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common type of childhood leukaemia. He underwent intensive chemotherapy, followed by more than three years of maintenance treatment - daily oral chemo at home and monthly chemotherapy in hospital - which finished in April this year.

Owen had first started to complain about leg pains, which gradually got worse over several months. He then started waking up in tears, as though he was having night terrors.

Mum Michelle, a part time nail technician said: "We took Owen to see our GP who referred him to Leeds Children’s Hospital. We were waiting for an appointment, but after he was sent home from school with shoulder pains, our GP told us to take him straight there. He had a full day of tests, then an MRI scan the next day. A few hours later Steve and I were given the news that Owen had Acute Lymphoblastic leukaemia, and that he had to stay in hospital and start treatment that night.

"We were both totally shocked. I was crying for ages and when I looked up, I saw Steve was in bits."

She added:"We then had to go through the difficult process of telling Owen’s brothers, starting with the oldest two, Ryan and Luke, then the younger ones, over the next couple of days.

"But telling Owen was the hardest bit for us. He knew I had been crying, but when I told him he had cancer, all he said was 'so am I going to lose my hair'. I said probably yes, and he just started laughing - and that was it."

She said: "I nominated Owen as soon as I heard about the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards and he received it just a few weeks after his diagnosis, which gave him a real boost. It made him feel extra special and was something that he was very proud about – as were the rest of us too."

Michelle said Owen had been amazing through all of his treatment, and added: "On Sunday, December 2, it was four years since he was diagnosed, and now he has finished his treatment and in remission, it is the best Christmas we could have wished for."

She stressed: "Owen’s experience with cancer has made us realise just how important research is. If it wasn’t for the research that Cancer Research UK does, then we wouldn’t have the treatments to help children like him."

Nicki Embleton, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens in Yorkshire said around 140 children were diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire and The Humber every year.

She said:"Our mission is to fund research to find new, better and kinder treatments for young cancer patients in Yorkshire, and across the UK. We want to bring forward the day when every child and young person survives cancer and does so with a good quality of life."

The awards are open to under-18s who have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years.To nominate a child visit cruk.org/kidsandteens.