A LITTLE boy who survived a life-threatening blood disease is having his first real birthday party this weekend.

Freddie Branthwaite is four-years-old and but was diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia in 2015, a rare condition in which the body stops producing new blood cells.

His only chance of a cure was to have a stem cell transplant.

Freddie's dad Jason, said: "Our world stopped for a while when you hear that your little boy may not make it. It’s like being hit with a sledgehammer."

The family from Breightmet first noticed Freddie was lethargic when they came back off a summer holiday but assumed he had picked up a bug.

After the tot failed to recover mum Laura, aged 40, took him to the doctors where he was told he needed blood tests.

Freddie had his blood tests at Royal Bolton Hospital and by chance a paediatric doctor walked passed and noticed how pale Freddie, who was 15 months, was.

Freddie was rushed to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where Freddie had a blood transfusion and Jason and Laura were told he likely had Leukaemia.

Jason, aged 45, said: "Over the weekend we lived with Leukaemia, when we heard that it was a death sentence."

After further tests and an operation to put in a central line, severe aplastic anaemia was diagnosed. The family's initial relief was dampened by the consultant who told them the condition was just as serious and that without the blood transfusion he would not have survived the weekend.

Freddie secured a stem cell transplant from an anonymous donor in November 2015 and spent the next eight months in isolation.

In June 2016 Freddie was allowed back at nursery, Educare in Bolholt Industrial Park, Bury but he struggled being with so many children.

Jason said: "Because he was out for at least a year his development was all set back. He couldn't cope with all the kids round him at nursery and his feeding and speech is behind. But he's here and we can work on all the other stuff."

Freddie is four today and on Fathers' Day he is having his first big birthday at Run Amok in Rossendale with 12 friends.

Jason says the family is indebted to the charity Anthony Nolan, which helped Freddie get his transplant and has been raising money by cycling for them.

Next year he's undertaking a mammoth challenge of eight rides including the Tour de Manc, London Revolution, Coast to Coast in a Day an and a London to Paris ride.

Jason said: "Anthony Nolan saved my son’s life and I was really looking for a way to give something back. In 2016 and 2017 I took part in the 100 mile Ride London and raised £2,800. I wanted to find a way to do something bigger so I decided that I would challenge myself."

To find out more about Anthony Nolan or sign up to be a donor visit anthonynolan.org online.