'Strongest person I've ever met' - James Maddison praises bravery of best friend after year-long cancer fight
PUBLISHED: 10:48 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 15 January 2019
Former Norwich City star James Maddison has praised the bravery of his “best friend” Sophie Taylor after she was moved to a hospice for end of life care.
The five-year-old from Sprowston, who is known on social media as Super Strong Sophie, was told the cancer had returned shortly after the anniversary of her diagnosis.
Following the news the 22-year-old Leicester City midfielder wrote on Instagram: “This last week has been incredibly tough. My best friend @superstrongsophie has relapsed and is now in a hospice for end of life treatment.
“Soph is the strongest, bravest person I have ever met and even now is still battling away in true Sophie fashion. She felt well enough to have a kick about on Wednesday at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and she was in great form with a big smile on her face which made me a happy man at such a heartbreaking time.
“Love you always superstar.”
After facing treatment, surgery and constant hospital visits, things had been looking bright for the schoolgirl. It was January last year when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma - bone cancer.
By December she was in remission and was waiting a new prosthetic leg, nicknamed her ‘magic leg’. But two days after celebrating her ‘diagnosis day’, the family were told the cancer had returned to her lungs.
Her parents have kept well-wishers updated through her social media accounts and posted: “My cancer has returned extensively in my lungs and I am not well enough for any treatment trials. My family are devastated beyond words.
“It has taken a hold of me very quickly and today I left Addenbrookes for the last time to go to a hospice for end of life care.”
Maddison first struck up a friendship with Sophie after she was a mascot for Norwich City and the England player has kept in touch with the Taylors, sending her a birthday gift, keeping in touch with her progress and meeting up with the family when time allows.
He invited Sophie to be a mascot at Leicester’s match against Watford in December - with the pair even finding time to enjoy a kick around before kick-off.