STUART McGINLEY: Brave Sam Hedger is never without his smile

I HAD a very busy week last week as Spirit FM hosted its biggest event of the year, the Local Hero Awards 2015.

Choosing the winners again this year proved very difficult as once again there were so many inspirational and moving stories.

Thank you if you took the time to nominate someone this year – without you telling us about these unsung heroes, we would probably never hear about them.

The story of our Bravery Award particularly moved me this year.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Hedger from Billingshurst was just two years old when he was first diagnosed with cancer, a battle he fought and won. Fourteen years later, tests showed the cancer was back, so aged just

16, Sam had his left leg and part of his

pelvis removed and it looked like he had beaten it again.

Sadly, in spring of this year Sam started getting pains again and after yet more tests, he was given the devastating news that the cancer was back, but this time it was here to stay.

Chemo and radiotherapy are being used as palliative care, but even with this treatment, he may have only a year to live.

We were told Sam is never seen without a smile on his face and is embracing every single day and that was certainly true on the night of the awards, he was so happy to meet everyone and really upbeat despite being told this devastating news.

He’s even put together a bucket list he is working his way through and my favourite moment from the night was seeing his face as we surprised him with some of the things he wanted to cross off his list. If you want to see if there is anything you can help Sam to achieve, just visit our website at, click on Local Hero Awards and find Sam’s story.

Sam was just one of many inspirational people it was a pleasure to meet once again, a truly humbling evening for us all and I look forward to hosting our tenth event next year.