4-year-old honoured for looking after mate who has a potentially dangerous disorder.

Luca Enna, 4, knows that when his best friend - who has a blood condition - gets hurt on the playground, he must tell a teacher fast.

"There's a room that has plasters inside it, in a little box, and only teachers can go inside that room," Luca explains.

"I can't make him feel better ... so every time Henry gets hurt, I just come and get a teacher and tell - and then I give him a cuddle."

Luca's best mate, 5-year-old Henry Smith, has von Willebrand disorder, a condition that affects the body's ability to form blood clots.

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It means every nosebleed is a trip to the hospital, and what might be considered a minor cut for most children can be potentially dangerous to Henry.

Luca and Henry's families are good friends, so Luca has grown up understanding his mate's condition - and the importance of letting someone know when Henry injures himself.

It was his looking out for Henry while they were at kindergarten together that has earned Luca a national award from the Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand.

He is the youngest of 18 people from around the country to receive the foundation's Buddy Awards, which pay tribute to family, friends and health professionals who support those who suffer from a bleeding disorder.

The award presentations - held yesterday in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch - aim to raise awareness about bleeding disorders and ensure better diagnosis and access to care for sufferers.

Haemophilia Foundation chief executive Richard Chambers said: "The lack of public awareness of bleeding disorders means families and friends take on a great deal of responsibility for their loved ones.

"The Buddy Awards are a way for people with a bleeding disorder to give a very special thank-you to their buddy."

Henry's mother, Trinette Giborees-Smith, said her son's condition had led to several trips to the hospital over the past five years.

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"When he has a bleed, it will stop bleeding at some point - but it takes a while to stop.

"He used to get a lot of nosebleeds, so it was almost every month we'd be at Starship."

"Having a friend like Luca helping him is so good for us. Henry can talk about it more to his friends now."

Von Willebrand disorder
•Affects the body's ability to clot - meaning it can take longer for people with the condition to stop bleeding if they have suffered a cut.
•Can cause excessive or extended bleeding.
•Is most often inherited or develops later in life.