Bradley Lowery's condition has deteriorated

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The family of five-year-old cancer sufferer and football fan Bradley Lowery have said his condition has worsened.

The heartbroken mother of the terminally ill Sunderland mascot confirmed that his cancer has progressed.

The world of football has rallied behind Bradley, who has neuroblastoma, and his friendship with star striker Jermain Defoe has touched many supporters.

On the Facebook page she uses to update his many thousands of well-wishers around the world, his mother Gemma said: "Bradley has been experiencing a lot of pain over the past few weeks with his legs.

"Originally we thought it might of been off him doing too much playing.

"However he went down for an emergency MRI today and it has been confirmed that his cancer has progressed a lot and this is what is causing the pain."

She said she hoped radiotherapy would allow Bradley to visit America for a holiday.

But she added: "This is not good news for us and things are moving too fast."

Bradley, who is from Blackhall, County Durham, has been asked to be Sunderland's mascot several times this season, as well as by Everton whose fans have also taken his cause to heart.

Bradley was also picked to be a mascot for England's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, walking out with goalscorer Defoe