A football-mad youngster has proved he is more than a match for cancer - after pitching up for a triumphant return to action.
Courageous Robert Haswell won the biggest cheer of the day as he laced up his football boots on Saturday for the first time since giving the deadly disease the boot.
The battling seven-year-old marked his comeback for Waldridge Park’s under eight side with a goal - after his life was saved by the game he loves.
Robert has fought back from three operations during a four-month stint at Newcastle’s RVI Hospital and had to have a kidney removed after a cancerous tumour was discovered by doctors last May.
But Robert was only thrust into a battle for life when mum Hayley Jefferson, 41, took him to hospital when he suffered a fall while practicising his footballing skills.
She feared he had broken a rib, only for her world to be turned upside down by the shock news a tumour was growing in his kidney.
The slip has saved his lifeHayley Jefferson
She says the fall may have helped him give cancer the slip.
Mum-of-eight Miss Jefferson, from The Crescent, Chester-le-Street, County Durham said: “Robert was playing at home practicing his football skills when he slipped up.
“I thought he had broken a rib so I took him to A&E.
“They discovered a tumour encased in his kidney.
“It was a huge shock.
“But the tumour was caught at a very early stage.
“The slip has saved his life.
“He had to have his kidney removed.
“It was called a Wilms’ Tumour, which is quite rare for a child aged over five.”
Robert was finally discharged from hospital at the end of September and is now in remission from cancer.
Throughout his cancer battle, he dreamed of getting back on the football pitch with his pals.
Bouts of chemotherapy that helped to tackle the disease in his body had the side effect of leaving Robert suffering from drop foot - a condition caused by damage to leg muscles - but that didn’t stop him from getting back on the score sheet at Temple Park Centre, South Shields.
Robert’s football team pitched in for Robert by completing a sponsored run, called run for robert and a charity night to raise funds for the family.
Miss Jefferson added: “The team lost 10-1 but Robert scored a goal.
“It was amazing to see him back playing.
“He absolutely loved it.
“He has been going to the games to cheer on the team but was his first full game back.
“He lives for football.”
The Newcastle United fan enjoyed a recent visit to meet the Magpies squad at St James’ Park and has plenty to look forward - including the marriage of mum Hayley and dad Steven Haswell next month.
Robert helped to make the love match a reality when he used his wish from the Make-A-Wish-Charity to pay for the big day next month.
Miss Jefferson added; “He could have wished for anything, like going to Disneyland, but he just wanted to see his mum and dad get married.
“It was such a lovely thing for him to do. He is a little softy, he has a heart of gold.”