Sunderland AFC has launched a special campaign in honour of the late Bradley Lowery as it bids to provide other sick children and their families with lasting memories.
The fundraising drive, called ‘For Bradley’, is aiming to create a holiday home, Bradley’s Place, to give families an opportunity to spend time together.
The Black Cats will raise money through the sale of a special edition home shirt – named ‘Bradley’s Shirt’ – which will be worn by the players on Saturday during their game against Millwall.
Bradley, from Blackhall Colliery, fought a brave battle with neuroblastoma before passing away in July, aged six.
He touched the hearts of football fans across the world after appearing as a mascot on a number of occasions for his beloved Sunderland.
His mum, Gemma Lowery, said: “One of our favourite memories is taking Bradley on holiday to Scarborough.
I’m sure Bradley will be watching over everyone and be very proud that his legacy will now help othersGemma Lowery
“We are absolutely thrilled that Sunderland AFC suggested that we could create similar memories for other families.
“Since Bradley’s sad passing in July we have worked tirelessly to ensure a positive legacy will come from his personal fight and I’m sure Bradley will be watching over everyone and be very proud that his legacy will now help others.”
Saturday’s opponents Millwall are backing the campaign, and both teams will wear special warm-up shirts carrying the For Bradley logo before the match.
Millwall fans will present a cheque to the Bradley Lowery Foundation at half-time, while a range of activities will take place.
In tribute to Bradley, the Black Cats will be led out by 13-year-old Thomas Bypus, who became great friends with Bradley when they were both receiving treatment at the RVI, in Newcastle.
Bradley’s Shirt is available to buy from the Sunderland AFC club shop, or via safcstore.com, from Saturday, priced at £39.99 for juniors and £49.99 for adults.
All money made from the sales will be donated to the Bradley Lowery Foundation.
SAFC chief executive Martin Bain said: “Bradley Lowery was an inspirational little boy who made a big impact on this club and the wider footballing world.
“We want to create a legacy for Bradley that will be for the good of everyone.
“Bradley’s Shirt will go a long way to making that happen, with all money made from sales of the special edition shirt helping to build memories for sick children and their extended families.
“We’re asking our fans and the wider footballing community to wear the shirt for Bradley and join us in making a difference.”
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
Sunderland AFC is calling on supporters to show their support for the For Bradley campaign by repeating a gesture synonymous with the schoolboy.
Bradley was often pictured giving a double thumbs up, and the club now wants to make that gesture everyone’s.
They are asking people to share pictures or videos of themselves giving a double thumbs up, using the #ForBradley hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
People can also use the hashtag to show what they are doing in honour of Bradley, who passed away in July aged six.
The club has also asked footballers to make it their goal celebration, with the hope that players across the country will get involved.
A special For Bradley social media frame has also been launched so people can add it to their profiles across a range of platforms, including Twitter and Facebook.
Sunderland AFC captain John O’Shea said: “Bradley became firm friends with staff and players alike, leading the team out on a number of occasions.
“He made a huge impact on our club and the wider football community.
“Everyone at the club is honoured to be able to give our continued support to the Lowery family and the charity.”