BEST OF WEARSIDE: Star Sunderland mascot George is in the running

Sunderland mascot George Johnson leads Sunderland with captain John O'Shea out for the match with Hull City, on Saturday
Sunderland mascot George Johnson leads Sunderland with captain John O'Shea out for the match with Hull City, on Saturday
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A LITTLE boy who faces a constant health battle has received the perfect boost from the Sunderland Echo.

George Johnson, aged four, has been nominated for the Child of Courage section of our Best of Wearside awards.

His delighted mum Emma Johnson, 33, said the news was the ideal tonic for George as he was waiting to hear if he had to go back into hospital.

George has a gastro condition which means he has to be fed through a tube in his heart.

Though George lives on Merseyside, Sunderland has thrown its weight behind the youngster’s quest to find a diagnosis for his debilitating condition.

Emma explained George’s latest setback and said his tube had punctured. This was the tenth tube that he has been on and Emma added: “As soon as there is any damage, it is all systems go to find out how we repair it again.”

George, who has now had more than 80 operations, really needed the pick-me-up of being nominated for an award, said Emma.

She added: “The timing could not have been better and I cannot wait to tell him.”

The tube setback had meant George was forced to miss going to school, but Emma added: “Just the fact that he has been nominated is lovely.”

Brave George has touched the hearts of Wearsiders. He has been a mascot a number of times for his beloved SAFC and the club has joined the rest of the city in helping to raise tens of thousands of pounds for Team George, a fund-raising drive to fund a trip to visit specialists in America.

It’s hoped George, whose dad Neil, 34, is from Farringdon, will be well enough to travel by the end of the year.

For now, he faces regular trips to Great Ormond Street hospital, in London, because of his undiagnosed gastro condition.

In the meantime, he has the boost of being in the running for the Best of Wearside awards and we want more nominations.

•Make your nominations here