A kind-hearted bus driver has raised more than £1,000 to help brave cancer battler Bradley Lowery.
The plucky five year-old has deadly neuroblastoma and is hoping to have life-saving treatment in the US in the coming months.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds are needed to get him across the Atlantic and operated on.
Now, Stagecoach North East employee Ian Thompson has helped to boost the Blackhall youngster’s fund after donating his time as part of a company competition.
Ian, 35, of Shotton Colliery, who has been a bus driver for the operator for 14 years, decided to set up a competition for the bus depots in Sunderland and Hartlepool, with the chance for two bus drivers to win a day off work with pay, and he would cover their bus duties for the day.
Ian explained: “I have been following Bradley’s plight on Facebook for a long time and my wife noticed that she had gone to school with Bradley’s parents.
“Bradley also lives in the next village to me, so the realisation of his new fight with cancer which returned in 2015 really hit home, and it made me want to do something to help.”
Through a raffle, bus drivers from the two depots were encouraged to donate as much as possible, with the chance to win a day’s paid leave and Ian would drive their shift.
Drivers Oz McCormack and Dale Crane from the Sunderland and Hartlepool depots were the lucky winners.
While Oz generously donated her prize to fellow colleague bus driver, Carol Taylor, who is also battling cancer, Dale spent the day with his two-year-old son and went to a football match at Hartlepool United.
During his bus shift for Dale, Ian dressed up in a t-shirt with Bradley’s face, to help raise extra funds through donations from the passengers on the bus, and over the course of two weeks has since raised over £1,000 towards the cost of treatment.
Bradley was first diagnosed with the cancer in 2013, undergoing gruelling chemotherapy and numerous operations.
The initial treatment proved to be a success and the brave youngster was declared to be in remission in 2015.
Sadly, the cancer returned and Bradley’s family set about raising £700,000 to save him.
The Sunderland AFC fan’s plight has touched people around the world, with Premier League side Everton donating £200,000 to his appeal when they played the Black Cats earlier this season.