As Chris Wilder’s side prepared for the derby at Bramall Lane, seven-year-old Kyron Flowers was readying himself for another major operation.
Kyron, from Parson Cross, suffers from Cystic Hygroma, a condition that causes cysts to grow in children’s necks or heads.
The youngster, who needed a tracheostomy until he was five-years-old, was devastated to be missing the crucial match and, in particular, watching his idol Billy Sharp.
Kyron’s uncle, Danny Wilson, decided to tweet the Sheffield United captain before the match, asking if he could send a good luck message to his biggest fan.
Despite preparing for a huge game the next day, Sharp tweeted: “Hope you recover quickly Kyron.”
Danny said he showed the message to Kyron on FaceTime minutes after waking up from his operation and said his face ‘lit up’ when he saw it.
He said: “Kyron loves watching football on TV but we could never really take him to games when he was younger because of his condition.
“I’ve got him a season ticket for the past two years and, although he can’t make every game, he’s always asking me about Sheffield United and his hero Billy Sharp.
“He’s obsessed with him and was devastated that he couldn’t make the Rotherham game because he was having a big operation on the Friday.
“So, I thought I would message Billy asking him to send a message to Kyron but I couldn’t believe it when he replied. I showed it to Kyron after he woke up and he had the biggest smile on his face.”
Danny said that Kyron ‘knows his face is not the same as everyone else’s’ and that the family are always concerned every time he goes in for an operation.
But he said Sharp’s message meant the world to him and thanked the Sheffield United captain for taking the time out of his day.
“Billy’s a great lad. He’s in the public eye at the moment with this wrestling thing so it’s amazing he made the effort to send a message to Kyron.
“Every operation is difficult for us as there’s a big risk especially as it’s around his mouth and neck. He’s doing fine now and he was loving the message from Billy.
“He knows his face isn’t the same as everyone else’s and people can be really cruel about it but things like this mean the world to him.”