A five-year-old boy who is undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer has been awarded an honorary 41st place on the racecard for Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National (8 April) by Aintree organisers.
Bradley Lowery was first diagnosed with Neuroblastoma aged 18 months. He beat the disease after two years and went into remission, but it returned in July 2016.
In support of Bradley’s campaign to raise both awareness and funds to fight the rare disease, Jockey Club Racecourses have created the honorary berth that will be seen by 70,000 racegoers.
“We’re thrilled to be coming to Aintree for the first time and really appreciate everything that everyone is doing for Bradley and us,” said Bradley’s mother Gemma, who will attend on Grand National day with her son and the rest of his family as guests of title sponsor, Randox Health.
“He is very excited about the big day. It is fantastic so many people will get the chance to learn about Bradley’s fight.”
The racecard will carry Bradley’s chosen red and white silks, which match his beloved football team Sunderland FC. His age is also shown and his date of birth, 17 May, is given where the weight a horse carries is normally featured.
The form figures show five wins (11111) to highlight the number of years he has so far beaten the rare form of cancer.
His older brother, Kieran, is listed as the ‘jockey’ and next to the ‘trainer’ is the name of England international footballer and Bradley’s close friend, Jermaine Defoe.
At the bottom, the ‘Timeform View’ reads: ‘Never happier than when playing with friends, Bradley loves Sunderland FC and his dogs Effie and Chase. Makes his Aintree debut. Donate to his fight against Neuroblastoma at bradleylowerysfight.org.uk.’
'I had no idea how difficult it is
The "Decembeard" campaign is run by charity Beating
The challenge has gathered support from riders inspired
“Bradley Lowery’s story is one that has already touched the hearts of millions of people but we need to help him to raise greater awareness and fundraising for the fight against Neuroblastoma. Where better to do that than through the people’s race?” said John Baker, the northwest regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses.
“If we can be part of the solution in even a small way that would make me very proud and I’m sure the British public will get behind Bradley’s fight. He’s a really inspirational little boy who deserves all the help we can give him.”
The 2017 Grand National will be held at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool at 5:15pm on Saturday 8 April and will be broadcast on ITV1. Our magazine preview of the great race is on sale now, in Thursday 6 April issue, and the report on all the action will be available in Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 13 April.