A foster carer from Gwynedd who's devoted almost 40 years of her life raising a vulnerable youngster with severe physical and mental disabilities is in the running for a top award.

Former school cook Rhian Evans, 58, refused to give up on Anthony when he came to live with her family as an 11-month-old tot and helped him learn to walk despite doctors’ warnings he would never be mobile.

Then, when Anthony was 31 and diagnosed with an aggressive form of testicular cancer which had spread to his bowel and bladder, the grandmother-of-18 fought to ensure he received treatment vital for his survival.

Now, just months after he received the all clear following a five-year cancer battle, Rhian is celebrating for a second time after being shortlisted for the Promoting Fulfilled Lives Award at this year’s Wales Care Awards.

The national awards, run by Care Forum Wales, acknowledge the hard work and exceptional performances of those in the care sector.

Rhian, from Clynnogfawr, Caernarfon, who raised Anthony, 37, as a son along with her own three children; Sion, 21, Gilwyn, 37, and Rebeca, 40, will now attend a glittering awards ceremony at City Hall in Cardiff on November 17hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, best known from the Go Compare TV adverts.

“I was shocked to be nominated for the award but I feel very proud, “ said Rhian who fostered Anthony until he reached the age of 18.

“Anthony was 11 months old when he came to me,” she said.

“We encouraged him to do everything he could; feeding himself, getting dressed, going to the toilet, and he managed.

“He’s such a happy, loving man. He loves his brothers and sister. We have 18 grandchildren and he absolutely loves them. He’s always been a part of their lives and he always will be.

“Although he’s 37 he’s only the size of a seven-year-old. He doesn’t talk but he says ‘mam’ and he communicates through body language and he can make himself understood quite clearly.”

Nominating Rhian for the award, Lowri Matulla, registered manager at Gwynedd and Anglesey Shared Lives Scheme, said: “Anthony is recognised by Rhian and Elwyn, her husband, as part of their family and participates in all aspects of family life.”

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards, said: “The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales."