A brave football-mad boy was given the VIP treatment as a club gave him a day to remember at the weekend.
Daniel Mason, nine, is battling a brain tumour that is threatening to claim his sight.
The youngster, from Usworth, Washington, has a tumour which is pressing on his optic nerve and causing distorted vision. He is undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions.
After hearing of the battle being fought by the Wearside lad, who plays for Washington Juniors Oranges under-9s, South Shields FC manager Jon King arranged a special day for him.
Daniel was invited to the Northern League club’s game against Esh Winning at Mariners Park on Saturday and given a South Shields shirt.
He also met the players – including former Sunderland and Middlesbrough favourite Julio Arca, who now plays for the Mariners – before the match, and was given a signed programme.
Things like that give Daniel something to look forward to and means he isn’t always thinking about the treatmentSteven Mason
The Mason family turned out in force at Mariners Park to watch Shields win 4-2, and dad Steven says Daniel was left “buzzing” by the experience.
He said: “Jon sorted out what was a very special day for Daniel, and the club was brilliant.
“Daniel went in the changing room to meet the players, and he was absolutely buzzing. All of the players were spot on, including Julio, who shook his hand and talked to him.
“Things like that give him something to look forward to and means he isn’t always thinking about the treatment. He really enjoyed the day, and he has already stuck his signed programme up on his bedroom wall.”
An online fundraising page to help Daniel’s family through the financial strain of regular hospital visits has already raised nearly £4,000. To donate, visit www.youcaring.com/daniel-mason-519552.