Plenty of people dream about making a major impact on the world around them, living their lives in such a way that they earn admiration and accolades which continue long after they’ve left this life. Six-year-old Blackhall, Edinburgh, resident Bradley Lowery did just that.
Bradley’s life seemed to start with struggle. When he was a mere 18 months old, doctors discovered that he was incredibly ill. The cause? Neuroblastoma, a kind of cancer that can quickly turn deadly.
Neuroblastomas usually impact patients ages five years old and younger. The cancer most typically impacts the adrenal glands, but it can migrate up into the spine all the way to the chest and neck.
Oddly enough, the Mayo Clinic reports that neuroblastomas can sometimes resolve themselves without medical intervention. Unfortunately, that wasn’t Bradley’s experience.
Though Bradley battled his cancer into remission, it returned, becoming more virulent than ever. But along the way, the little boy captivated his native Scotland through the bravery with which he fought the disease.
A passionate fan of the Sunderland Association Football Club, Bradley came to the attention of striker Jermain Defoe, and the two struck up an unlikely and wholeheartedly genuine friendship. He even led the team onto the field during a match.
Major musicians even got in on the effort. The duo LIV’n’G released the charity song “Smile for Bradley,” and it went on to hit No. 3 on the iTunes charts.
Doctors, though, soon delivered horrible news: Bradley’s cancer had metasticized, and he had only months to live.
On July 7, Bradley passed away, and a week later, thousands of people lined the Blackhall streets to bid him farewell. Among them was Jermain Defoe, who wore a jersey with the little boy’s name on it.
Since Bradley’s death, an online fundraising drive has established a goal of raising £500,000 in order to help other families whose young children are fighting pediatric cancers. Generous strangers donated over £350,000 to it in less than a month.
What a special bond Bradley got to share with so many. He will certainly be remembered by people across the world as a little boy who fought bravely.