Bradley Lowery's family open their heart over four-year cancer battle
The family of brave youngster Bradley Lowery have emotionally told of their "real-life nightmare" - four years to the day he was first diagnosed with cancer.
Bradley, five, from Blackhall, has terminal neuroblastoma, and his story has touched the hearts of people around the world.
He was initially diagnosed with the illness four years ago, before it returned last year.
An emotional post on the Bradley's Fight Facebook page this morning said: "Four years ago today I was told that my baby had cancer at the age of 19 months.
"At the time, I thought it was the worst day of my life.
"Little did I know then that I had more of the worst days of my life to come.
"In four years, I have had an extreme amount of worry, stress, panic, and heartache. I have been living a parent's real-life nightmare.
"They say God only gives you what you can handle......really????
"They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger......really????
"They say there is a rainbow at the end of the storm.....but it is so hard to see the rainbow when there are so many clouds and you can't see the storm ending anytime soon.
"I try and be a positive person the majority of the time, however I do have my moments of weakness and when this happens my heart physically aches and my tears could fill a glass.
"However, I will leave on the note that although I have had an awful time I have also had some amazing times and made amazing memories that will last forever."
Bradley's family was told before Christmas that his neuroblastoma could not be beaten.
The Sunderland fan was then invited to the Stadium of Light to be mascot for the Black Cats' game against Chelsea.
He scored a penalty past Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in the warm-up, in a moment which was broadcast around the world.
It even won the BBC Match of the Day Goal of the Month contest for December.
After the heartbreaking news, Bradley's family also revealed the youngster's wish was to receive as many Christmas cards as possible.
There was an incredible response, and about 250,000 cards were delivered to Bradley.