A brave youngster who underwent a lifesaving kidney transplant has named his new organ after Doncaster Rovers ace James Coppinger - after the footballer sent him a video get well message.
Daniel Calow, seven, met up with his soccer idol to say thank you and collect a pair of signed boots from the long-serving midfielder who admitted he was “humbled” by the youngster’s plight.
Coppinger, who is close to beating Rovers’ all-time appearance record, was so moved after hearing of Daniel’s op last November that he sent a video message as he recovered in hospital.
And Daniel, who lives at Westwoodside with dad Darren and mum Sandra, repaid the compliment - by dubbing his new kidney Copps, in tribute to his favourite player.
Said James: “I got a call asking if I would send a video message. I’ve got kids myself so I could relate to it.
“It was humbling to hear that Daniel had named his new kidney after me. I don’t think there’s many footballers out there that can say that!”
Daniel’s health problems began at birth when he stopped breathing for six minutes - causing many of his major organs to fail.
And while he otherwise recovered from the early setback, his kidney failed and his parents were told by medics that he would have to undergo a transplant operation.
Last November, after a suitable donor was found, Daniel underwent the procedure in Nottingham at the Queen’s Medical Centre and since then has made a remarkable recovery, enjoying the chance to run around Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium pitch with the boots Coppinger used to score a brace against South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.
Proud mum Sandra said: “He was absolutely overwhelmed. He has made fantastic progress since his operation and he has been a fighter right from the very beginning.”
Season ticket holder Daniel, who attends games with his family, was urged to come up with a name for his new kidney by medics and had no hesitation in plumping for Copps after the star’s message.
She said: “His favourite player has always been Coppinger and when he got the message after his operation, he was absolutely beaming. The smile he had on his face when he saw the message was amazing.”
The Westwoodside Academy pupil was presented with the boots on the Keepmoat pitch by the player who has now clocked up nearly 450 appearances for Rovers in an 11-year career.
Dad Darren said: “They try and make it a bit more personal by encouraging kids to come up with a name for their kidney, and Daniel had no hesitation in choosing Copps. The man is amazing for what he has done - a true gentleman footballer and we are extremely grateful to him.”
It was humbling to hear that Daniel had named his new kidney after meJames Coppinger