Young football fan Steven Mappin forgot his serious illness for a day when he got the chance to meet his Manchester United heroes at their training ground.
The 11-year-old, from Bentley, Doncaster, had his dearest wish granted by Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s leading wish-granting charity for children and young people with serious and terminal illnesses.
Since the age of three, Steven has suffered from a severe condition called Nephrotic Syndrome, which occurs when the kidneys do not work properly and leak large amounts of protein into the urine.
He has to take steroids, a cocktail of medication and needs lots of hospital visits to fight the disease.
But, despite the difficulties he faces, mum Jenny describes him as a ‘very brave and a lovely, kind and helpful little boy’.
Steven is football-mad and loved to play in a Saturday football team but had to give it up as it was making him feel poorly and tired.
Jenny wrote to Starlight, who contacted Manchester United and the club invited Steven to its annual Dream Day, hosted by the Manchester United Foundation for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.
The Starlight charity arranged for Steven and his dad to stay in a hotel close to the ground the night before so they could get there with plenty of time to make the most of the occasion.
The Dream Day started with an exclusive view of a first team training session at the Carrington training ground, before Steven was taken to meet the players, who made time to chat to the youngster and pose for photos.
A Starlight spokeswoman said: “It was an incredible experience and, by the end, Steven was beaming from ear to ear.
“All the players signed a football shirt for Steven and he was given a Manchester United goodie bag to take away as a memento.”
Jenny said: “When I told him he was going to be granted a wish, his little face lit up. He was so happy, which was nice to see as he is so often upset and ill. We will never be able to thank Starlight and Manchester United enough for arranging Steven’s wish and for making his day so special.”