Mark Howard paid a special visit to supporter Edward Gregory on Wednesday afternoon to put a smile on the youngster's face following his recent brain tumour diagnosis.
The 16-year-old, who was born in Bolton but moved to Lostock Hall in Preston with his parents Keeley and Chris as a baby, got his first Wanderers season ticket at the age of three and attended Junior Whites football lessons from a young age alongside training with the club's academy.
In recent years, Edward acted as a ball boy for the club for two seasons before taking up his season ticket once again for the current campaign following the Whites’ promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship.
Unfortunately however, back on March 1, the teenager was diagnosed with a non-germinomatous germ cell tumour of the pineal gland in his brain and as a result, is currently undergoing chemotherapy at The Christie Hospital in Manchester.
A huge Bolton Wanderers fan, some of his treatment sessions have seen him miss watching his beloved team in recent months, with him even watching the Trotters’ recent victory over Aston Villa whilst in hospital.
Upon hearing of his plight however, goalkeeper Mark Howard made the journey to Edward’s family home just outside of Preston, turning up on his doorstep – much to his shock.
Once inside, Mark chatted with the teen about all things Wanderers alongside gifting him with a signed home shirt from the squad, a signed pair of his goalkeeper gloves and various other pieces of club memorabilia.
Speaking about the visit meanwhile, Edward said, “I was absolutely stunned to open the door to Mark Howard! It was so nice to have a chat with him though!”
His parents echoed his sentiments, adding, “We really appreciate Mark’s visit – it means a lot.
"It’s something that has well and truly managed to put a smile on Edward’s face at what is a very hard time for him and us as a family.”
Mark also spoke following the special surprise, saying, “It was lovely to meet Edward and his parents today – they’re a lovely family and it was great to be able to take their minds off what is happening in their lives at the moment, even just for an hour.
“Eddie is a great lad and he clearly loves Bolton Wanderers – his knowledge on the club is hugely impressive!
“As players, we love being able to do stuff like this and the fact that we can put smiles on faces, especially in difficult circumstances, is hugely rewarding.
“On behalf of all the lads, I’d like to wish Eddie all the best with his treatment and we look forward to seeing him back down at Macron Stadium soon."