MATTHEW Bloor is a brave lad whose not always enjoyed the best of health.
But the super fit skaters of Sheffield Steelers have taken him to heart...and their locker room!
The eight-year-old has recently taken to following 50-50 ticket sellers around iceSheffield and Sheffield Arena and has become a recognisable figure amongst fans as he tries to drum up support for the sales force.
He is rarely out of his Steelers’ jersey - in fact he even wears it during his doctor and hospital appointments.
When he woke up from his last general anaesthetic his first words were “Mum, I haven’t missed a 50-50, have I?”
So Steelers thought it was about time that their young ambassador and his Steeler mad family were rewarded for his loyalty.
They made Matthew his own special 50-50 helpers’ bib and it was presented to him by goaltender John DeCaro, who is the lad’s hero.
Afterwards, his mum Claire said: “I‘m actually pretty speechless. Seeing my little lad star-struck meeting big John DeCaro for photos and a presentation of his own 50-50 tabbard on centre ice left me welling up.
“But then hearing about him celebrating in the locker room with the team - no mums were allowed in there, of course - and seeing him awestruck was the best feeling ever.
“So much happened for him that night that he’s still telling us new bits now!
“He was totally shocked and delighted whilst it was all happening, the emotion of how happy, proud, excited and surprised he was hit him as we walked to the car and he just sobbed with delight.
“He didn’t understand why he was so special - he is just doing something he loves to do!
“None of this would have been possible had it not been for our dear friend Elliott Hall, Matthew’s partner in crime selling 50-50s. We owe him a debt of thanks for making this happen for Matthew and for giving him something tonight that money could never buy.
“The Steelers’ crew went above and beyond to make us feel like part of the family and valued.
“It just goes to show that kindness is still present with individuals and organisations and all is not all lost in society these days, but the future is bright.”
DeCaro said: “It was a pleasure to meet Matthew and I’m touched that I’m his favourite player, I knew there was one fan out there who liked me!
“I think Matthew was a little overawed to start off with but once he was inside the dressing room with the guys he was so excited.
“For us players it’s so easy just to give a little time, we get a huge kick of seeing how something so easy for us to do brings such a big smile to a young boy’s face and makes his family so happy.
“His Mum kept thanking us, it really should have been the other way around with us thanking him for helping the club and making us guys feel good as well.”