Who is Bradley Lowery?
Bradley is a five-year-old boy who has been battling terminal cancer since he was 18 months old.
He was pictured today attending the Grand National at Aintree, a day after his parents Carl and Gemma revealed the tragic news that his latest and final round of treatment has not worked.
The family said that they are “understandably heartbroken” about the news.
They added: “We don't know how long it will be before the cancer wins, but what we do know is that we will continue to make memories and enjoy our super hero every second of the day.”
Today Bradley has been given the honorary 41st place on the Grand National race card at Aintree, with his brother Keiran listed as his jockey and Sunderland ace Jermain Defoe as his trainer, with whom he has struck up a close friendship.
Despite his diagnosis, his mum Gemma said: “We’re just going to go down and have fun and make some memories. He is excited for it all.”
Bradley attended the Grand National with his mum Gemma Bradley Lowery leads out England against Lithuania Sun, March 26, 2017
Click to reveal the best snaps of Bradley Lowery leading England out against Lithuania
REUTERS 1 of 9
Click for the best snaps of Bradley Lowery leading England out against Lithuania
In March Bardley walked out onto the pitch with Defoe ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
Bradley is an amazing child
Defoe is a regular at visitor at Bradley’s hospital, and in February was pictured cuddling the young fan as he fell asleep.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The striker explained: “He asked them to turn the lights off and pull up the covers.
“He is an amazing child. People talk about how he's changed me as a person.
“It's the little things he comes out with when I spend time with him.”
Bradley Lowery has struck a close friendship with England footballer Jermain Defoe
What form of cancer does Bradley Lowery have?
Bradley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a rare form of child cancer – on January 7, 2013 after a tumour was found above his left kidney.
He was given a 50-50 chance of survival, but beat the disease after two years and went into remission.
In July 2016 Bradley relapsed. His family raised £700,000 for specialist treatment in the US, but tragically doctors informed them that the cancer had become terminal, and treatment could only prolong his life or even kill him.
Brave Bradley underwent the pioneering treatment – which combines chemotherapy with an antibody – at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary rather than travelling to America.
Bradley's hair has grown back following his treatment
His mum Gemma told ITV Tyne Tees: “To be honest, it wasn’t really a hard choice for us because I’m not ready to let him go yet and I know Bradley and he’s a fighter and he’s got plenty of fight in him.
“So deep in my heart I knew that I wanted to try this new treatment so taking him home was not an option.
“If it meant that I was losing Bradley through treatment at least we would have gone out fighting.”
Defoe cuddled Bradley as he fell asleep in his hospital bed
What is neuroblastoma?
The rare cancer mostly affects babies and young children, and develops from specialised nerve cells called neuroblasts left behind from a baby’s development in the womb.
It affects around 100 children each year in the UK and is most common in children under the age of five.
The disease commonly occurs in one of the adrenal glands above the kidneys, or in nerve tissue alongside the spinal cord in the neck, chest, tummy or pelvis.
It can spread to other organs such as the bone marrow, bone, lymph nodes, liver and skin.
The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown. It usually does not run in families, although there have been rare cases where children in the same family have been diagnosed.
Bradley walked onto the pitch ahead of England's World Cup qualified in March
Symptoms can include:
- A swollen painful tummy, sometimes in association with constipation and difficulty passing urine breathlessness and difficulty swallowing.
- A lump in the neck.
- Blueish lumps in the skin and bruising, particularly around the eyes.
- Weakness in the legs and an unsteady walk, with numbness in the lower body, constipation and difficulty passing urine.
- Fatigue, loss of energy, pale skin, loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Bone pain, a limp and general irritability.
- Rarely, jerky eye and muscle movements.
Contact your GP or contact NHS 111 if you're worried your child might be seriously ill.
How to donate money to Bradley Lowery
Any money which which does not go towards his treatment will be given to the Bradley Lowery Foundation to support sick children.