A selfless young Sheffield United fan battling heart disease has appealed for Easter eggs to cheer up other sick children – and the response has been amazing.
Harri Parker, of Killamarsh, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning the left lower pumping chamber of his heart hasn’t developed properly.
The brave nine-year-old has thrice undergone open-heart surgery and also had countless other procedures.
Despite his own struggles, Harri, who is a huge Blades fan and has struck up a friendship with players including Dean Henderson, wanted to do something for other children who will find themselves in hospital this Easter.
He appealed via the Blade2Blade Facebook group for fellow fans to donate Easter eggs to bring poorly youngsters some much-needed cheer.
More than 160 eggs have already been dropped off at the Cricketers Arms opposite the ground on Bramall Lane, where they are being collected, and more are arriving each day.
People can drop off eggs or other gifts like craft kits, for young patients who are nil-by-mouth, at the pub until the home game against Millwall on Saturday, April 13.
The eggs and other gifts will be distributed to young people at Leeds General Infirmary, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Chesterfield Royal Hospital and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Blade2Blade administrator Lee Hinshelwood said Harri had asked his mum Jeni after his latest heart operation if he could buy some eggs for children who would be in hospital over Easter, and she got the group to share the appeal.
“So many eggs were donated she had to come and collect seven sackfuls this week, just a few days after the appeal went out,” he said.
“It’s great what Harri’s doing and the response so far has been fantastic but there’s still plenty of time to donate.”
Henderson, Kieran Dowell and Caolan Lavery have visited Harri at home, where they have played video games with him and even got a lesson in how to dance the ‘floss’.
The youngster walked out with Henderson as a mascot ahead of the Blades’ recent victory against Bolton Wanderers.
Daniel Robinson, of The Children's Hospital Charity (TCHC), praised Harri for thinking of others.
“We would thank him for his kind efforts to collect so many eggs for children who will be in hospital over Easter. It’s really heartwarming that he’s been inspired to do that as a result of his treatment,” he said.
“Since so many of our patients are nil-by-mouth and unable to eat chocolate eggs, we would ask people to consider donating craft kits so everyone can have fun this Easter.”
You can drop off Easter eggs or craft kits at the Cricketers Arms, on Bramall Lane, or donate via TCHC's Be A Good Egg appeal here.