The parents of six-year-old Bradley Lowery have spoken about their son’s amazing legacy as the brave youngster's "best friend" is made a patron of his charity.
In an interview on ITV's This Morning, Bradley’s mum and dad Gemma and Carl Lowery praised their brave son, who passed away in July after battling neuroblastoma.
Gemma, of Blackhall Colliery, said: “He got scanned and it was shown he had a tumour in his tummy.
"Unfortunately, in the weeks after we realised that it had spread.
"The treatment was brutal. The first lot of treatment didn’t work. So, he had more treatment. This went on for ten months.
“Because he was so poorly in the beginning, he slept through the first two weeks of diagnosis.
"When he came round, he already had these tubes in his nose and his chest. It had almost become normal to him.”
The pair added they were thrilled when their son was given the all clear and it gave them a chance to be a “normal family”.
“It was the best 18 months we ever had,” Gemma said.
But during a routine screening, they realised the cancer had come back.
“We knew at that point we had to fight with everything we had,” Gemma added.
Sunderland fan Bradley's fighting spirit captured the hearts of the nation and the couple were flooded by support to help raise funds.
“It was all because of Bradley," added Gemma.
"Although he was only here for a short time he’s done so much for a little boy of six years.
"It’s incredible and I’m so proud of him.”
He also touched the life of his hero - former Sunderland and now Bournemouth player Jermain Defoe, who struck up a close bond with him before he died.
Jermain today said that Bradley's courage had inspired him.
The England striker said: “There was an instant connection. It was something that was special.
"I remember him being in the changing room before the game and his energy was amazing for a little child who wasn’t well.
“He touched my life in a big way, to be honest.
"Obviously, it was difficult. I could see he was in pain and I didn’t want to leave him.
“I think about him before every game. He loved his football. That’s when he came alive.
"I’m so used to Brads being beside me.
"There are so many great memories and I feel blessed there are so many great memories with him and his family.”
Bradley’s parents have now launched a foundation in his honour, which hopes to help other children battling serious illness.
Gemma explained: ”I want to build his legacy and help other children with the Bradley Lowery Foundation… so that people don’t forget what he’s done and they don’t forget that smile.”
She added Jermain was going to be the patron of the charity.