Bradley Lowery had been honoured posthumously with a special award at tonight's BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2017.
Six-year-old Bradley's parents Gemma and Carl Lowery accepted the Helen Rollason award at the star-studded event in Liverpool from England football manager Gareth Southgate and striker Harry Kane.
Gemma and Carl received a standing ovation from the 10,000 crowd inside the Echo Arena.
Bradley, from Blackhall, suffered from neuroblastoma - a rare type of cancer - from the age of 18 months, and captured hearts across the sporting world during a number of appearances as a mascot for his beloved Sunderland AFC.
He died in July aged six.
Gemma said on receiving the award: "I'm slightly overwhelmed but I am absolutely honoured to receive this on behalf of Bradley.
"Bradley was only here for six short years but the nation took him into their hearts and he raised so much awareness for childhood cancer.
"It was unbelievable and I am so proud of him."
A moving film, including homemade videos of Bradley and his memorable smile, was screened.
It highlighted the touching friendship Bradley struck up with former Sunderland player Jermain Defoe.
Gemma also spoke about how they are working to help children with similar conditions through the Bradley Lowery Foundation set up after his death.
"We want to be able to give back to the nation," said Gemma. "Thank you so, so much for the continued support.
"Everyone has been fantastic and we couldn't do it without you."
The Helen Rollason award was introduced in 1999 in memory of BBC Sport journalist and presenter Helen Rollason MBE, who lost her battle with cancer in that year, aged 43. Previous winners include Sir Frank Williams and Jane Tomlinson.
Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua is the odds-on favourite to be crowned the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year at the Echo Arena.