TELEVISION stars will be pulling on their football boots in aid of a Wearside cancer battler.
Actors from Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Eastenders are taking to the pitch this weekend to raise money for neuroblastoma sufferer Leighton Cook.
The four-year-old New Silksworth Infants School pupil, of Merryweather Rise, Tunstall Village, was first diagnosed with the killer illness in June of last year.
After battling through bouts of chemotherapy, Leighton was in remission just a few months ago.
However, his family started a fund-raising drive to pay for stem cell harvesting should his cancer return.
So far, £24,000 of a £50,000 target has been raised.
The game, at Altrincham Football Club’s Moss Lane ground, in Cheshire, takes place on Sunday afternoon.
Coronation Street actors Ryan Thomas, Jack P Shepherd and Chris Fountain, ex-Eastenders star Dean Gaffney and The Only Way is Essex’s Mark Wright have all been lined up to play in the game.
The match has been organised by businessman Umar Kamarni, founder of Boohoo.com.
Leighton’s mum Lynzie, 34, said: “Obviously we are ecstatic about the game. Leighton is counting down sleeps until the day.
“He is doing really well. He’s in school, which he is loving, even though he gets really tired when he comes home.”
Leighton has had sister Taylor, 14, and brothers Grant, 12, Kieron, nine and Ethan, seven, to rally round him while he gets better.
“Now, we are just focusing on the stem cell harvesting in case he does relapse,” said Lynzie, who is married to Leighton’s dad Dave, 54.
“I get worried because every time I see a lump or bump on him I think ‘oh no that could be something else’.
“We are just hoping he stays in remission and beats the cancer.”
Tickets are still available for the coach down to Sunday’s game and for the match itself.
It will leave Morrisons in Doxford Park at 9.30am and is expected back into Sunderland after 8pm.
For more details or to book call Lynzie on 07833476152.