Beaming youngster Corey Adey is all smiles as he clutches his Child of Courage award - but his smile hides a remarkable tale.
Just minutes before the photograph was taken, Corey had a mini stroke at the Best of Wearside Awards night.
It was a night of drama for seven-year-old Corey and his family at the Sunderland Echo annual awards.
The ceremony had just started when Corey’s hand went limp and his speech was slurred in an attack called a TIA which lasted more than 20 minutes.
When the brave boy finally came round, he had missed the first part of the evening’s proceedings at the Stadium of Light.
He missed the meal as well, and only managed two biscuits and a glass of milk all night.
We had to take Corey out into the foyer but he came round and he went to sleep at the table. Then, when he got his award, he kept on saying ‘I am excited, I am excitedJade Abbott
But remarkably, he recovered in time to hear his name being called out as a Child of Courage winner. As the audience rose to give a standing ovation, brave Corey even went up to the stage to collect the trophy himself.
Corey, who also has autism, was ecstatic, said mum Jade Abbott, 29, from Easington Lane.
“He kept on saying ‘I am excited, I am excited’.”
But an astonishing 24 hours for Corey wasn’t over.
The next morning, he went in to see his classmates at Easington Lane Primary School. He held his trophy up high and said: “Look what I have won!” as all of his friends cheered.
The award was richly deserved for a brave lad who, just three weeks ago, had surgery on both sides of his brain at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Surgeons spent more than five hours operating on him to increase the blood flow to his brain.
Although the operation was a success, Corey has an incurable condition called MoyaMoya which is so rare, it only affects one in a million people.
The disease is a progressive one and means the carotid artery in the skull becomes blocked or narrowed, reducing blood flow to the brain.
It’s all been one big ordeal for Corey over the last eight months.
Corey’s life changed forever one day in August last year when he came home from school and told his mum his arm felt strange.
He went to sleep and it took his parents Jade, and Andrew Adey, 30, more than 30 minutes to wake him.
Hospital CT scans showed he had abnormalities on his brain and he was diagnosed with MoyaMoya disease. His family was also told he’d had a stroke and multiple mini-strokes called transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs).
Since then, he’s had two more strokes and now has 103 mini strokes each week.
But Corey had been free of all TIAs ever since the day after his operation three weeks ago .... until the awards night.
Jade said: “Of all the nights to happen, it had to be this one. Me and Corey’s dad had just gone downstairs at the Stadium when my dad came running out saying ‘he’s having one’.
“We had to take Corey out into the foyer but he came round and he went to sleep at our table in the awards room.”
“When he won, he just kept saying ‘I am excited, I am excited. When he gets excited, he can have TIAs.”
Jade spoke to the Sunderland Echo to raise the profile of MoyaMoya and said: “I want to get the awareness out there because I didn’t have a clue about it before.”
Doctors told Jade and Andrew that many MoyaMoya sufferers only find out when they reach their 30s and have a massive stroke.
The condition is extremely rare in children.
Jade wants to thank the people of Easington Lane who raised £700 to help pay for the costs of the family’s stay in London while Corey was at Great Ormond Street.
And she said she could not thank them enough for what they are still doing. A charity football match and fundraising day is being held on May 11 at Easington Lane Workingmen’s Club.
In the meantime, she paid tribute to her ‘dead funny’ lad who - despite everything he has gone through - is still a really loving little boy.