A former Sunderland AFC striker has shared the final photo he took with Bradley Lowery in a touching tribute on the third anniversary of his death.
Jermain Defoe OBE formed a special connection with the six-year-old fan after meeting when Bradley acted as a mascot at the Stadium of Light for his beloved Black Cats.
Bradley captured hearts around the globe as he battled neuroblastoma cancer- a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.
Tragically, three years ago on July 7, 2017, he lost his fight but his family vowed their experience with the disease would be the inspiration to help others fighting life-limiting illnesses.
Though an unlikely friend Bradley became ‘best friends’ with the forward who frequently visited him as he under went treatment.
In a touching tribute on the third anniversary of Bradley’s death Jermain, 37, who now plays north of the border for Rangers, wrote: “This was the last pic we had together, can’t believe it’s been three years! Miss you little man.”
After Bradley’s death, mum Gemma, from Blackhall, County Durham, set up the Bradley Lowery Foundation, supporting poorly children who face a range of challenges in fundraising for treatment and equipment.
Gemma took to social media to pay tribute to her special boy saying he was “too beautiful for earth.”
She said: “I remember the day Bradley was born like it was yesterday. I remember him coming up out of the water and taking his first breath in the big wild world.
“My little family complete- me and my three boys. As long as we had each other we could get through anything. Beautiful amazing memories I’ll treasure for life.
“However, I also remember three years ago today, when my amazing little superhero took his last breath on this earth to become a special angel.
“This was the worst day of my life I honestly can’t imagine anything in the world for the rest of my life ever coming close to the pain it caused.
“My little boy was too beautiful for earth, he was needed in heaven. I always say I wish I could have one last time with him but if that meant he would be back in the pain and suffering, then no, I couldn’t do that to him again.
“I miss him more than any words could ever describe. I cry myself to sleep at night wishing so hard that when I fall asleep I dream about him.
“However, I do wake up the next day and I work hard to continue his legacy he created in the hope I’m doing him proud.
“Mammy, daddy, Kieran love you more than the sun, the moon and the stars above and we will never forget you, baby.”