Macclesfield Town would like to join with clubs around the country in order to pay tribute to Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery, who passed away a year ago today.
The six year old stole the hearts of the nation with his gallant fight against neuroblastoma, which shall forever remain inspirational to us all.
The cheeky, fun-loving youngster adhered himself to everyone with his trademark grin and thumbs up – often in the most agonising of situations.
Bradley struck up an instant and loving friendship with his ‘best mate’ Jermain Defoe – who regularly visited the little warrior and spent hours talking to him in his hospital bed, before cuddling him until he went to sleep.
Despite his deteriorating health, Bradley never gave up the fight and was mascot for the Black Cats as Sam Allardyce’s side completed another great escape act in May 2016, by registering a 3 – 0 victory against Everton.
Everton were so taken aback with the youngster that they asked him to be their mascot when Manchester City visited Goodson Park the following season – Bradley obliged but insisted that he would only do it if he was allowed to wear his beloved Sunderland shirt!
Bradley’s plight also inspired football fans from all over the country to unite against cancer – so much so that many clubs created flags with Sunderland’s crest on it together with their own, emblazoned with ‘Cancer Has No Colours’.
Away fans sat on the third tier at the Stadium of Light regularly chanted Bradley’s name and the following Christmas, he received an estimated 300,000 cards from well wishers around the globe.
Bradley also has the honour of being the only non-footballer to have ever received the Match of the Day Goal of the Month award.
During December 2016 he was again mascot for the Mackems and in the build up to the match he majestically struck an inch perfect shot past Tibo Courtois in the Chelsea goal.
He shared the award with Manchester United’s Henrik Mkhitaryan for his audacious back flick at Old Trafford – ironically against Sunderland.
Bradley continued to post cheeky, heart-warming videos to his Facebook page, yet as his health continued to deteriorate his public appearances began to drop.
Despite this, Jermain continued to ring Gemma (Bradley’s Mum) every day to check up on him, and regularly visited with arms full of toys.
Bradley found it increasingly difficult to breathe as his symptoms worsened. Yet the fight was by no means over even at this traumatic stage, as he was said to have kept forcing himself awake in order to give another cheeky grin - no matter how hard that was proving to be.
Bradley, it is difficult to put in to words what an incredible, inspiring little boy you were and always will be. Through your pain you not only found strength, but also gave it to so many people on a global scale.
Your smile will continue to light up the darkest of places forevermore.
At times like this, it is traditional to hope that Bradley is resting in peace but this is not really applicable.
We hope that wherever Bradley now is, he will be running around causing mischief with that adorable grin and his thumbs held up high.
It is up to us all to make sure that Bradley’s legacy never dies - irrespective of who we support, where we live or who we are.
Thank you for the memories Bradley, you will never be forgotten.