Bradley Lowery Foundation receives £10,000 from Jermain Defoe Sunderland return match fundraiser

Bradley's friendship with Defoe captured the heart of the nation. Credit: PA

A charity set up in Bradley Lowery's honour has received almost £10,000 thanks to ticket sales from Jermain Defoe's return to the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland AFC pledged to give the Bradley Lowery Foundation £1 from every admission to the club's League One clash with Doncaster Rovers earlier this year.

The legendary striker was greeted by rapturous applause on his return on Saturday 5 February.

Defoe is a fan favourite at Sunderland - partially due to his remarkable friendship with little Bradley.

On Tuesday 31 May, the foundation announced it had been sent a donation of £9,981 from the event.

Defoe met Blackhall Colliery-born Bradley when the avid Sunderland fan was a mascot against Chelsea at the Stadium of Light.

They became friends throughout his struggle with neuroblastoma, meeting regularly until the six-year-old's death in July 2017.

Their friendship drew national attention when Gemma Lowery posted a photo of her son Bradley falling asleep on his hospital bed with his arm around Defoe.

Bradley Lowery cuddles up to his Sunderland hero Jermain Defoe. Credit: Family photo

Following the visit, Defoe said: "Bradley is in my prayers every night. He is an amazing young man and I look forward to seeing him again."

On March 26 2017, the Football Association invited Bradley to be a mascot for the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and Defoe was unexpectedly called up to the squad at the age of 34.

Bradley was there to see his pal score his first goal in an England shirt for four years.

It was a fairytale occasion and Bradley said afterwards: "I have had an amazing day and I will never forget Jermain because I love him so much."

The Bradley Lowery Foundation has raised more than £1 million since it was founded, giving families access to treatments not available on the NHS.

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