A Sheffield Wednesday fan has spoken of his pride after seeing his son walk out onto the pitch with the team on Saturday - defying doctors who said he’d never walk.
Martin Danforth took to Twitter to post footage of his son Joe, aged 10, walking onto the Hillsborough pitch with the players before the Owls’ win over Charlton.
He said: “10 years ago our family was told my little boy would never walk, Look at him now leading out Sheffield Wednesday.”
Little Joe Danforth was diagnosed with a rare condition known as CHARGE syndrome, an extremely complex syndrome which occurs in 1 in 10,000 births worldwide.
Several members of the Danforth family, from Deepcar, were at the game including mum Nichola and Joe’s sister Megan.
Mum Nichola Danforth told The Star: “Joe is profoundly deaf, vision impaired and he has had multiple operations, three lifesaving, including heart surgery.
“He can’t speak. All he loves is his football...and he has a passion for letters and numbers.
“He holds a season ticket and sits in the grandstand with his dad Martin and his sister Megan and attends every home game.
“We were absolutely bursting with pride, me and his sister were in the grandstand watching him whilst his dad was pitchside. When he came on obviously there were tears, I shouted out, “look that’s my boy” and a few fans round us looked at me a bit gone out!
“Dad says he has never felt prouder than to see his little boy lead out his favorite team, and says he had a lump in his throat... but didn’t cry because he’s a man!”
Nichola also took the opportunity to thank the club.
She added: “I would just like to say that Sheffield Wednesday did this out of hospitality. As Joe’s only love in life is his football, I emailed SWFC and asked them whether they would consider having Joe as a mascot, and they were only too happy to give him this wonderful opportunity.”
The video of Joe walking out with the Owls players has already gained more than 4,000 retweets and 7,000 likes.
Others took to Twitter to share their thoughs on the video.
Sara Turner said: “@MartinDanforth this warms my heart. Thank you for sharing. What you lovely boy you have.”
@jamesthemower added: “We need more positive stories like these. I wish your lad all the luck in the world.”
Read the match report of the Owls’ 3-0 win over Charlton HERE