The family of Bradley Lowery have thanked Sunderland AFC striker Jermain Defoe for being such a good friend to the little fighter as he takes on the last home game of the season.
The friendship between the five-year-old cancer battler and club’s star player has melted the hearts of the world.
But now as the team gets set to take on the last home match following relegation, fans could be saying a sad goodbye to Defoe if decides to moves on.
Whatever the outcome, his family are keen to see fans cheer on Defoe in recognition of the difference he has made to the life of the Blackhall youngster throughout his battle with neuroblastoma.
Bradley’s mum Gemma said: “Bradley loves Jermain and the bond between them is special.
“We will never forget how he has helped cheer Bradley up and put a smile on his face when nothing else could.
“The same goes for Sunderland football club, I can honestly say that they have done everything they can to support us and helped make special memories.”
Fundraising co-ordinator Lynn Murphy said it would be great if fans at the game applaud Jermain to acknowledge his friendship with Bradley.
She said: “Jermain has been fantastic with Bradley. “What he and Bradley have is pure friendship.
“There is nothing fake about it, it is so natural.
“He really does adore Bradley.”
Jermain will even be at the brave youngster’s birthday party later this month.
Lynn added: “Their friendship has created memories for both Bradley and Jermian. “It’s bad that the club has been relegated, but I want to say to them ‘look at what you have done for this little boy.’
“Jermain is fantastic with him, so even if he moves to a different team, we are still going to have the support from the club and from Jermian.
“He is a genuine friend of the family and their friendship can still grow even if he leaves.”
Earlier this week Bradley’s parents were dealt with another blow after an MRI scan revealed that his terminal cancer had progressed, despite receiving pioneering treatment.