Fans say they have “utmost respect” for Jermain Defoe and his teammates after they took time to visit Bradley Lowery in hospital.
The five-year-old is undergoing the next stage in cancer treatment in the hope the pioneering antibody drugs will prolong his life.
Defoe and fellow Sunderland AFC players Seb Larrson, Vito Mannone and John O’Shea took time out to visit the Blackhall youngster at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Bradley has been the club’s mascot twice and has forged a close friendship with its team after members added their support to his campaign, while he has also been adopted by Everton and its supporters after being a mascot there following on from a £200,000 donation by the Merseyside team towards medical costs following the team’s clash Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in September.
After his visit, Defoe tweeted: “Love you little man #bestfriends” with a heart as Bradley’s own charity account, @Bradleysfight, said Bradley didn’t want him to leave after he fell asleep alongside the striker in his hospital bed.
Fans have given praise to the players for their act of kindness.
Just proves what an amazing guy he is.Paul Burdess
Among them was Paul Burdess who said: “Just proves what an amazing guy he is. “Utmost respect for him.”
Janet Pritchard added: “Well done Jermain and Sunderland FC.
“Bradley, you are amazing and your beautiful smile can light up even the dullest days.”
Craig Daymond said; “Keep fighting Bradley. “Such a beautiful lad, he has the hearts of loads of people.
“And well done Defoe, such an amazing role model for everyone.”
Cath Summer Smith said: “Respect to Jermain.
“He’s totally devoted to this brave boy.
“Who could resist that smile though, keep fighting Bradley.
“Jermain is with you all the way.”
Brenden Ward posted via Facebook: “Shed a few tears when I read this, such a moving story.
“He’s a brave little boy and great that the football teams and players taking him to their hearts.”
Reece Jones wrote: “A good strong kid and keep fighting little man. “Jermain, bring on the three points tomorrow for Bradley.”
Kevin Smith said: “A great, kind gentleman and big respect to all the lads who paid the little trooper a visit.”
Bradley’s parents Gemma and Carl, who also have elder son Kieran, were told before Christmas the treatment he was given after his neuroblastoma returned last year had not stopped his tumours from growing and only had time left to spend with their boy.
Sunderland will play Southampton at home at 3pm tomorrow.
More information about the fundraising campaign can visit Bradley’s Fight Against Neuroblastoma Facebook page.