Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is set to pay for the funeral of Crystal Palace youth player Damary Dawkins, who lost his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in March, aged just 13.
Sterling had struck up a friendship with the youngster and supported campaigns to try and find Dawkins a suitable stem cell donor, but he unfortunately passed away last month.
Dawkins' family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise £15,000 for the funeral, but it has now been confirmed that Sterling will cover all the costs for the proceedings, and he will attend the funeral on Friday.
When asked about Dawkins, Sterling said: “Damary was a special young man who touched a lot of lives, including my own. Positive until the end, he was an example to us all."
After scoring in England's 5-0 win over the Czech Republic in March, the City striker lifted his shirt to show a picture of the two together, alongside the words "May Your Soul Rest in Peace".
Dawkins' father Tony told the Press Association: “I knew that they used to speak because [Sterling] came down to the hospital, they played pool together and apparently they swapped numbers.
“I remember when Crystal Palace played Manchester City and they lost, Damary put on his tracksuit with the Crystal Palace badge and took a picture to send to Raheem. They had banter with each other.
“[The shirt tribute] was very, very touching and fitting. I know Damary touched his heart.”
The GoFundMe page states: "He was a talented footballer who was a member of the Palace For Life Foundation (Crystal Palace's elite development squad). He was a courageous, cheerful and determined little boy to the very end. His warm nature, handsome smile and the strength he displayed will never be forgotten."