A YOUNG cancer patients' dreams came true when he starred as a Manchester United mascot on Tuesday, March 4.
Football-mad Jacob Marsland - who suffers from an aggressive form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma - got to walk on pitch alongside mid-fielder Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of his idols at Old Trafford for their face-off with Olympique Lyonnais.
The five-year-old Kingsmead boy has spent the last 12 months undergoing countless rounds of painful treatment so the experience came as quite a tonic for the brave youngster.
Mum Nicky, 37, had to keep the outing secret from Jake until the last minute just in case he was not well enough to go.
"We didn't want to disappoint him if he couldn't make it so we kept it quiet," she said.
"He loves Manchester United though, and England. He's always supported them because all his family does, and he's always had the kit."
Nicky was allowed to go to the match with Jacob but dad Anthony, 42, had to watch his son's moment of glory on the TV with little brother Ben.
Speaking before the match he said: "Whatever you allegiance, please watch out for Jacob and share our pride at seeing our darling boy walk out onto the pitch."
The Hartford Manor pupil underwent major surgery last month to remove a 15cm tumour from next to his spine and Nicky says he is making a fantastic recovery.
"He's doing so well after his surgery, its unbelievable," she said.
"We were worried that he wouldn't be walking or anything but he's doing so, so well. He lost a lot of weight so now we are trying to build him back up ready for his next round of treatment."
The youngster still has a tough road ahead including a week of chemotherapy and stem cell treatment followed by five to six weeks of radiotherapy.
Even if the cancer from his bones is treated, there is a 70 per cent chance of a relapse at which stage there is no more treatment available in the UK.
For this reason, the Guardian is helping to raise the £250,000 needed for a pioneering treatment in America. To find out more about how you can help, please visit northwichguardian.co.uk.