Bradley Lowery, the six-year-old whose brave fight against a rare form of cancer captured the nation’s heart, was posthumously honoured at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year event on Sunday night.
Sunderland super-fan Bradley, who fought against neuroblastoma from 18 months old, and his family were given the Helen Rollason Award for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity”.
Bradley died in July in his parents’ arms at his home in Blackhall, County Durham.
The award was accompanied by a moving film that documented how the youngster was always smiling.
After his diagnosis in 2012, Bradley underwent two years of treatment, which resulted in his cancer going onto remission.
The clip also charted his friendship with his footballing hero, England and then-Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, who visited him in hospital throughout his treatment.
In March, Defoe and Bradley were given the honour of leading out England at Wembley ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
The striker also joined friends and family at Bradley’s funeral, leaving pre-season training camp in Spain with his new club Bournemouth so he can attend the service in the north East.
Many people watching were moved by Bradley’s story.
Both Bradley’s parents were visibly emotional as they were applauded on to the stage, with mother Gemma saying: “Bradley was only here for six short years, but the nation took him into their hearts.
“He raised so much awareness for childhood cancer. It was unbelievable and I’m so proud of him.”
After the film was broadcast, many suggested it was Defoe who should get the biggest prize of the night.
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And others pointed to how Bradley’s parents are raising money for a facility to provide care for sick children.