A POORLY boy who has touched the hearts of Wearsiders is celebrating one of life’s milestones.
Despite facing a daily battle with health problems, George Johnson, four, has finally had his first day at school.
Though George lives on Merseyside, Sunderland has thrown its weight behind the youngster’s quest to find a diagnosis for his debilitating condition.
George 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.
In the meantime, he faces regular trips to Great Ormond Street hospital, in London, because of his undiagnosed gastro condition, which means he has to be fed through a tube in his heart.
Yesterday George was able to join his friends at school after teachers have spent the past week learning how to manage his condition.
Proud mum Emma, 33, said: “I was a bag of nerves. It’s been weird not having him here. George was so excited to finally go to school and be with his friends and the school have rang to say he is fine.
“He ran into class and started to play with his friends before we had even had chance to hang his coat on the peg.
“He should have started last week, but the teachers needed training on how to deal with George’s central line and stoma.”
Donations still continue to pour in for George with runners taking on last weekend’s Great North Run for the cause.
Among them was nine-year-old Lewi McBeth who was inspired to do the Junior Great North Run for George after meeting him when the pair were SAFC mascots together.
Lewi, a Silksworth Junior School pupil, finished in the top 100 and managed to complete the 4km run in under 20 minutes.
Emma said: “George thinks Lewi is brilliant. It’s even more special when a kid decides to do something like that off their own bat.
“We are so proud of everyone in Sunderland, the people and the club. The support we get is incredible.
“George is desperate to get up there and go to a match now the new season has started. He’s going to be admitted to hospital soon as there’s some problems with his liver, which has become enlarged, and his colon.
“But we are hoping to get up to Sunderland before his admission.”