Selfless Charlie Creaser has been given the best Christmas gift ever - a mascot place with his beloved SAFC.
Despite battling with his own illness, the six-year-old from Hetton, who suffers with cerebral palsy, raised £1,750 for Bradley Lowery’s fund in a charity walk.
Even though he has to use a walking frame to get around, the Eppleton Academy pupil was determined to help five-year-old Bradley whose fight with neuroblastoma has touched the hearts of the nation.
To recognise the youngster’s act, the Echo has decided to give one of our SAFC mascot places to champion Charlie.
Now, as well as a visit from Santa, Charlie has the Tottenham Hotspur clash on January 31 to look forward to when he will walk onto the pitch with his heroes.
Mum Michelle, 33, said: “He is over the moon, he absolutely loves SAFC.”
Charlie took on the biggest challenge of his life in September when he took on a one mile charity walk in Redcar to help fund treatment for Blackhall youngster Bradley.
It was a huge achievement for Charlie who defied doctor’s predictions that he may not ever walk after being born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects all four limbs.
As well as being a charity champ, Charlie faces his own fight and is determined to one day walk unaided.
Last month he underwent calf-lengthening surgery at Sunderland Royal Hospital in a bid to lengthen his calves by stretching the muscles to help him walk.
His next milestone is an appointment in February with a Leeds General Infirmary-based specialist to see if he is eligible for a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation to help him walk unaided in the future.
Michelle, who is married to Martin, says she’s proud of how her son deals with the condition.
“He goes to a mainstream school and I think that helps because the kids are really accepting of him,” she said. “At the minute all he wants to do is wear the same shoes as everyone else. He has one leg longer than the other at the minute so he has to wear a built up shoe. But he’s only ever said once ‘why can’t I do what everyone else does?’”
She added: “He was really determined to help Bradley after hearing how poorly he was, he’s always wanted to meet him after hearing so much about him.”
Should Charlie be eligible for the SDR procedure, his family will need to raise the funds needed for the operation, which isn’t provided on the NHS.
If he has the operation in the UK, it will cost £30,000, but if Charlie has to go to the US for the procedure the cost will rise to £60,000.
Gavin Foster, Echo managing editor, said: “What Charlie’s done, despite going through what he’s going through, takes a huge amount of courage. To think of others in his situation is remarkable and if anyone deserves something special at Christmas, it’s him.”