A Doncaster youngster with a respiratory condition fulfilled a lifelong dream yesterday by leading Sheffield United out.
Addison Connor, a pupil at Morley Place Junior School in Conisbrough, was born with a diaphragmatic hernia, which stopped one of his lungs developing properly.
The hernia caused his stomach organs to move into his chest, through an opening in the muscles which allows breathing, and he underwent several emergency procedures to treat the condition.
Now he lives life like any other child his age, but with an oxygen cylinder to help his breathing.
Addison, of Conisbrough, is a huge Blades fan and led the team out for their FA Cup clash versus Plymouth Argyle at United’s Bramall Lane Stadium yesterday.
Craig, Addison’s dad, said: “Addison has supported Sheffield United all his life, and we have been to many games, including last year’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
“This all started when he saw mascots on TV and he said to me he would love to do that one day.
“His aunt, Kim, wrote Sheffield United a letter asking if Addison could be a mascot.
“His eyes lit up when we told him and he hasn’t stopped telling everyone since.”
As well as leading the team out, Addison was to enjoy a VIP tour of the stadium, meet first team players and manager Nigel Clough, receive an autographed football presented by club captain Michael Doyle, and have a kickabout on the pitch.
Dave McCarthy, Blades’ operations director said: “Addison is an extremely brave young boy who also acts as an inspiration to others.
“Everyone at the club is honoured that he will be leading the team out and we hope he enjoys his day with us.”
Many of Addison’s family were due to be there to watch him including his father, mother, brothers, grandparents and his aunties and uncles.
Craig said: “It is such a special day for our family.
“Addison has been through so much, but he is always happy and smiling.
“We’d like to say a very big thank you to Sheffield United. They have made a dream come true.”