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Organisers of Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National have taken the unprecedented step of awarding an honorary 41st place in the world’s most famous steeplechase to five-year-old Neuroblastoma campaigner, Bradley Lowery.
Jockey Club Racecourses has created the honorary berth and even his own set of colours – on paper in the racecard – to support Bradley’s campaign to raise awareness and funds to fight the rare form of cancer. He was first diagnosed with it aged 18-months, beat it after two years and went into remission, before sadly the disease returned in July 2016.
In the racecard, Bradley’s red and white silks match his beloved football team, Sunderland FC. His age is listed (5) and his date of birth of 17th May is given in place of the weight a horse carries (17-5). His form figures showing five wins (11111) highlight he is unbeaten at every turn and his five star rating confirms he is very highly regarded.
Also featured are the team behind Bradley: his father Carl and mother Gemma, and both sets of grandparents, Howard and Marie, and Dave and Christine. His jockey is listed as his older brother, Kieran, and in the normal trainer slot is England international footballer and close friend, Jermaine Defoe.
Bradley’s write-up 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.
Bradley and his family will attend Grand National Day as guests of headline sponsor, Randox Health. More than 70,000 people at Aintree will have the opportunity to see the racecard entry, which notes Bradley’s fight against Neuroblastoma and where the public can donate. Jockey Club Racecourses is also releasing the graphic of the racecard to the media and on social media to help to raise awareness.
Bradley’s mum, Gemma Lowery, said: “We’re thrilled to be coming to Aintree for the first time and really appreciate everything that everyone is doing for Bradley and us. He is very excited about the big day. It is fantastic so many people will get the chance to learn about Bradley’s fight.”
John Baker, who runs Aintree as North West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “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?
“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.”
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox, said: “We’re delighted that Bradley Lowery and his mum and dad are going to join us on the final day of the festival. His fight to raise awareness of neuroblastoma and other cancers most commonly found in children has inspired hundreds of thousands of people.
“We’re grateful to be able to share this fantastic day with Bradley and his parents and we hope it’s one to remember. Please continue to show Bradley your support – a really special little man and such an incredible fighter.”
Sarah Elsley is a freelance editor and proofreader who is the Junior News Editor for Eclipse magazine. She has a degree in English Literature and is a keen horse rider with an interest in fashion at the races and fiction writing.