A TEENAGER is looking forward to a happy – and healthy – new year as he prepares to undergo major surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Thomas Hardwick, 13, of Damson Croft in Hollingwood is set to have a five hour operation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital this month.
The football fan hopes to be back playing in goals for his team – Staveley Miners Welfare Junior Under 14s Team – after six weeks of intensive recuperation and treatment.
Thomas started feeling unwell and suffering seizures last July.
Following an MRI scan at Chesterfield Royal Hospital he was diagnosed with a tumor on his left temporal lobe.
He said: “I was scared to death when I found out but I’m just trying to get on with it now.
“I do find it hard to sleep sometimes but most of the time I’m okay.”
Last week, Ged Drelan, the Under 14s manager, surprised Thomas and presented him with a signed shirt from his beloved team, Aston Villa.
The shirt was donated by club chairman Terry Damms.
Dad Mark, 44, said: “It is a fantastic present for Thomas before he undergoes surgery and we want to thank the club as it means so much.”
Thomas added: “I found my favourite players’ signatures straight away.
“I couldn’t stop smiling.”
The budding football manager, a pupil at Netherthorpe School in Staveley, has been playing the sport since the age of seven with his brother Benjamin, 17.
The pair have won many trophies over the years.
Thomas said after a traumatic six months he was looking forward to the future.
Mum Penny, 42, added: “2011 was a horrible year and a worrying time for us all.
“We’ve all struggled a lot but are really hoping this year will be a good year.”