By Kelly Spencer
One brave young Sheffield Wednesday supporter has enjoyed a special visit to Hillsborough after being invited to watch a first team training session.
Eight-year-old Ben O' Brien who has bone cancer affecting his left knee and shin was recovering in The Children's Hospital, Sheffield, following chemotherapy when Owls' players Liam Palmer and Darren Potter paid a surprise visit.
Ben, from Ecclesfield in Sheffield, was diagnosed with the aggressive form of cancer after his mum noticed that he was passing up playing his beloved football due to pain in his leg.
During the surprise visit, Darren and Liam presented Ben with a signed shirt and invited him to a training session at Hillsborough Stadium as soon as he was feeling well enough to attend.
Less than a month later and following major surgery, Ben and his family arrived at the ground to get a sneak peek at what the team gets up to during the week. The family had a chat with Manager Gary Megson before taking their places in the dugout to watch training and meet the team.
"Today has been great for Ben," his mum Dawn Sowden said. "He has been through a lot this year having to face months of chemotherapy and a very big operation."
The youngster recently travelled to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham for surgery to remove a tumour in his leg bone, but surgeons also took away his shinbone and knee bone, which were replaced with prosthetic titanium rods.
Owls' midfielder Darren Potter said: "When we heard that Ben was a Sheffield Wednesday fan and was having a difficult time we thought we'd pay him a surprise visit."
"When we first met him he had just been through chemotherapy and was preparing for his op so it was really nice to see him out and about and feeling well enough to enjoy an afternoon at Hillsborough."
Dawn added: "Ben was delighted when Liam and Darren turned up at the hospital and invited him to watch the team train. He had been looking forward to the visit ever since and it definitely lived up to his expectations.
"A couple of days later at the final game of the season Liam Palmer found Ben in the crowd and gave him his shirt which made him feel extra special and put a huge smile on his face - so thanks to Liam for that!"
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