Anyone else following the story of little Bradley Lowery, the amazing little lad from Sunderland who is dying from a rare form of cancer? The story of five year old Bradley has broken the hearts of millions and yet made us smile as he posed with Jermain Defoe, his footballing hero, and led out the England team at Wembley. Tonight’s tweet by his mum Gemma made for very sad reading:

“Bradley is not good 😢 he has been in horrendous pain with his leg since yesterday to the point he couldn’t move in bed last night. We have had him to the hospital today and they have give him a x Ray but it didn’t show anything. The doctors gut feeling is that it is his cancer progressing but we need to wait and watch for a few days to see what happens.
Bradley was due to be mascot at the Riverside tonight but he is not well enough to go so we have had to cancel it.
I am hoping and praying that it is nothing serious and he starts to improve as I’m not ready for this to happen yet 💔💔 #keepfighting.”

I do not really know how my words can follow that. This lovely, sweet boy has done nothing to deserve the horrendous pain that neuroblastoma has visited upon him. Surely he was not born just to die young, before he had ever really lived at all, awash, as soon he will be, in an ocean of tears.

The more I know, the less I understand. I know in my heart that little Bradley was no more given this illness by some supernatural being than it will be taken away by one. Bradley’s, I’m afraid, is the tragedy that afflicts some people and avoids others. It is very hard to see anything positive in such a negative situation. And yet.

Through the darkness shines a light of sheer humanity, a torch held by extraordinary people, like you, you and you, who do extraordinary things. Like Defoe’s inspirational support, born of love and compassion, and the donations made in the hope that somehow Bradley might survive, from people who never met him, just read a sad story and tried to make things better. There’s that light. And I see it shining every day.

Bradley’s story won’t end well. For a time, the darkness that eventually consumes us all, will snuff out the light on Bradley. A young boy, loved by the nation in a sort of twice removed way, but loved by his family more than anything else on this earth.

Bradley Lowery reminds us that it’s good to love one another. No Newcastle United fan feels different from a Sunderland fan about Bradley’s plight. The colour of a shirt means nothing at all. The colour of anything means nothing at all. He’s just a young boy, like every other young boy in the world. Bradley teaches us that love will save the day, that hope will triumph over hate, that one day we will find treatments and cures that will mean no one ever needs to suffer like Bradley and his inspirational family. One day.

Nothing can compare to a young child in pain. It isn’t fair, life isn’t fair but if we all put our minds to it, we can love everyone, like we love Bradley. If we can all learn to do that, maybe there will be a happy ending. Keep fighting, little man.