(CNN) - It's not unusual for friendships to be formed through football, but the bond forged between a five-year-old boy suffering from a rare form of cancer and a leading soccer star has provided one of the more unusual -- and heartwarming -- talking points of this season.
In September, Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2013, was the club's mascot for the game against Everton at the Stadium of Light in the north east of England. Fans of both clubs chanted Lowery's name in the fifth minute -- a number to match his age -- before a "We're with you, Bradley'" banner was unfurled. But for Lowery, getting the opportunity to meet his hero Jermain Defoe was arguably the most thrilling aspect of the day. And the player felt a similar sentiment.
"As soon as he saw me, he ran over to me and jumped on my lap," recalls Defoe in an interview with CNN World Sport. "I think probably from that moment, it was sort of overwhelming, because I was like 'oh wow.' And that sort of love he gave me from day one was just like, that instant moment, was sort of like when we bonded. It was just a great feeling."
Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/18/football/jermain-defoe-sunderland-bradley-lowery/index.html