Bradley Lowery has been awarded an honorary 41st place in this weekend’s Grand National.
The brave five-year-old, who is battling the rare cancer Neuroblastoma for the second time in his short life, will have his very own card at UK horse racing’s most popular event.
The touching gesture was organised by the Jockey Club Racehorses, who highlight the campaign set up on little Bradley’s behalf and will give attendees an opportunity to donate.
It will come as no surprise that his colours will be red and white – matching his beloved football team Sunderland. The full card lists the ever-smiley youngster’s age, as well as naming all of his family, and notes that he’s highly regarded after a run of five straight wins. It’s also fitting that, given the frankly lovely friendship that Bradley has struck up with Jermain Defoe, the recently recalled England striker has been referenced at his trainer.
“Never happier than when playing with friends Bradley loves Sunderland FC and his dogs Effie and Chase,” the description reads. “Makes his Aintree debut. Donate to his fight against Neuroblastoma at bradleylowerysfight.org.uk.”
Bradley was first diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of 18 months, a battle that lasted two years, and one that he won. Tragically, the cancer returned in July 2016, and his family have been trying raise the money for specialist treatment ever since. This treatment isn’t available in the UK.
His mother, Gemma, from Blackhall Colliery in County Durham, expressed again her gratitude for the support her son has had from the footballing community and beyond, and said Bradley was ‘very excited’ about his first trip to the world-famous Aintree racecourse.
John Baker, North West regional director for the Jockey Club Racecourses who runs Aintree, said: "Bradley Lowery's story is one that has already touched the hearts of millions of people but we need to help him to raise greater awareness and fundraising for the fight against Neuroblastoma. Where better to do that than through the people's race?
"If we can be part of the solution in even a small way that would make me very proud and I'm sure the British public will get behind Bradley's fight. He's a really inspirational little boy who deserves all the help we can give him."
(Main image: REX)