Junior footballers in bid to help terminally ill Sheffield boy meet Wayne Rooney
A Sheffield boy's dream to meet his idol Wayne Rooney could come true - thanks to junior footballers touched by his brave fight for life.
Youngsters from across South Yorkshire are backing an online campaign for terminally ill Kasabian Newton-Smith, aged eight, to meet his Manchester United favourite.
Using the hashtag #1lastSmile4Kasabian, youngsters are posting photographs of themselves in their football shirts online and copying Rooney's trademark goal celebration in the hope that the England international will learn of Kasabian's plight and make one of his final wishes come true.
Kasabian, from Parson Cross, was diagnosed with cancer when he was two years old but developed inoperable brain tumours last year.
He is due to turn nine in December but with his health deteriorating medics have advised his family to bring his birthday celebrations forward .
The online campaign, which organisers hope will reach Rooney's camp and that the footballer will agree to meet Kasabian, was launched after Brinsworth Whitehill u10s manager, Ben Harris-Shaw, launched an online fundraising appeal for the sick youngster.
Ben met Kasabian, who plays for Southey Wolves u10s, when the two teams played in a recent league game.
The appeal was spotted by Paul Kirton from Grassroots UK, which supports the grassroots football community, and after discussions with Kasabian's family the Wayne Rooney campaign was devised.
"I saw the fundraising appeal and read about the little boy behind it and knew we had to do something as a grassroots community to give Kasabian something to smile about again after all he has been through,"said Paul.
"I asked his family what his last wish would be and they said that Wayne Rooney is his favourite player, so we are reaching out to footballers at all levels - from grassroots through to professionals - to do all they can to make this happen.
"Kasabian's story has touched me deeply. We all know children who play football and for him to have fought this for six years he deserves this wish to come true."
South Yorkshire firefighters also touched by Kasabian's battle helped make one of his dreams come true after hearing that spending a day as a firefighters is on the youngster's 'bucket list'.
He was invited to Barnsley station where he was dressed as a firefighter and taken for a ride in an engine.
The youngster was given a demonstration of what how firefighters use cutting equipment to rescue casualties from collisions.
Kasabian’s dad, Nick Newton-Smith said “Kasabian had a fantastic day – white watch were brilliant hosts and made sure it was action packed from start to finish.”
Station Manager Damian Henderson said: “Kasabian started off very shy at the beginning of the day, but once he’d had his first call out and had a go in the engine, he was giving me my orders.
" I think I speak on behalf of everybody at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue when I say what a pleasure it was to have Kasabian on station, and I feel privileged to have been a part of his big day.”
* To donate to Kasabian's family and the Sheffield-based Parents' Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ben-harris-shaw
* Use the #1LastSmile4Kasabian hastag to post photographs online to reach Wayne Rooney.