Welcome to Sunderland! Young Sunderland AFC fan who beat cancer travels 5,000 miles from San Francisco for a day to remember at Stadium of Light
Callum Miller, 12, who beat cancer less than a year ago, travelled from San Francisco to cheer on the Black Cats at their home game against Coventry on Saturday, November 23.
The match ended as a draw, but it was still a day to remember for Callum and his family.
The young Sunderland AFC supporter had chosen to cheer on his favourite football team and visit his relatives in the area on behalf of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which helps children who have suffered serious illnesses fulfil their dreams.
Callum’s mum Caroline Corner was born in Easington, but moved to the USA aged nine with her parents Jane and Sunderland football-fantatic Keith.
The family, including mum Caroline, brothers Dash, 10, and Axel, 6, stepdad Dan Barahuna and grandfather Keith Corner were flown over by the charity as a treat for Callum following his cancer battle.
Shortly before his 11th birthday Callum was diagnosed with a brain tumour and spent five days out of every fortnight for six months in hospital undergoing chemotherapy.
The tumour went away but an MRI scan showed a second tumour, which was also the size of a golf ball.
He endured another eight rounds of chemo, a stem cell transplant and a month spent in isolation at home while his immune system strengthened.
After six more MRIs, Callum has now been in remission for 10 months but still takes medication and has an MRI scan every eight weeks to make sure the tumour hasn’t returned.
This is the first time Make-A-Wish USA has arranged a trip to Sunderland. The family were given a tour of the stadium and had their photos taken in the player’s changing room.
Speaking before the match, Callum’s mum Caroline said: “We really have been looking forward to this trip as a light at the end of a very long tunnel.
“SAFC has been incredibly nice to us once they heard we were coming. We are absolutely blown away by their efforts to accommodate us.”