Sprowston youngster battling cancer made mascot for the day

James Maddison carries Sophie Taylor on Saturday, April 7. Photo: Jasonpix/NCFC

James Maddison carries Sophie Taylor on Saturday, April 7. Photo: Jasonpix/NCFC - Credit: Jasonpix/NCFC

A Sprowston youngster battling bone cancer had a dream fulfilled last week when she was made a mascot at Norwich City Football Club.

The family of Sophie Taylor, four, were told in January she had osteosarcoma in her knee and tumours which had spread to her lungs.

And in preparation for the gruelling treatment she would face, including chemotherapy, surgery, and 120 trips to hospital, they launched a fundraising campaign and urged well-wishers to take photos of themselves sticking out their tongues, using the hashtag #TakeASophie.

Ross Mendham, managing director of Norwich business Barenaked Foods Ltd, was made aware of Sophie's plight after his wife Kelly had been following the campaign on Instagram.

And he arranged for her to be mascot on Saturday, April 7.

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Mr Mendham said: 'Kelly was telling me so much about Sophie's battle and as she is the same age as our son Oliver, it really resonated with me.

'I knew Sophie had a big operation coming up and wouldn't be able to walk for a long long time so I wanted to do something nice for her while she was at home and in between chemotherapy sessions.

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'I thought what better way to make her the centre of attention than to be a mascot for her home team and to walk out with the players. I also hope that through this, more awareness can be made of Sophie's story and children with cancer.

'There is also a young teenager called Archie Ramshaw who I'd like to do this for too. He's battling an extremely rare blood disorder but not getting much coverage.

'He desperately needs bone marrow so I'm hoping I can help raise some awareness for him. I always said that once I'm successful, I wanted to do as much as I can to help others and it's an honour to be able to do so.'

Sophie was joined at Carrow Road by her parents Alex and Kirsty, her sister Evie and brother Connor, Mr Mendham, his wife Kelly and son Oliver to watch the football match and enjoy dinner courtesy of the Canaries' hospitality.

• To donate to Sophie's cause, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/superstrongsophie

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