His passion for larger than life characters burned bright. Now tributes have been paid to superhero fan Daniel Downing after he tragically lost his battle with cancer.
The brave five-year-old, from Plympton, passed away peacefully with mum Stephanie by his side after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in July last year.
Speaking to The Herald, Stephanie said her little boy never once complained through his ordeal and ‘laughed until the end’.
She said: “He fought until the very end.
“Without him, I don’t think I would have been as strong as I have been.
“He never complained, or did the ‘why me’ thing, he laughed until the end.”
Daniel initially had problems with his eye sight and was referred to Derriford Hospital by his opticians in June 2017.
He then had an MRI scan which revealed the devastating news.
Doctors gave Daniel just nine months to live after discovering he had developed a very serious type of brain cancer known as Pontine Glioma.
The toddler was rushed to Bristol and began several weeks of treatment.
At the time, Stephanie said Daniel had stopped calling the treatment “radiotherapy” and had named it “superhero re-charging”.
Deadpool star, Ryan Reynolds was Daniel’s favourite hero, and after hearing about his illness, the actor facetimed him for a chat.
Stephanie said: “He was a really superhero fan, he spoke to Ryan Reynolds and he had video recordings from the guy in Optimus Prime.
“At his funeral, he had Optimus Prime and Baracode carry his coffin.”
In December, family, friends, and kind-hearted motor enthusiasts banded together to bring three vehicles styled after characters in the Transformers movie series to visit Daniel in Plymouth.
A large crowd of young sci-fi fans, and older car aficionados, turned out at Stonehouse Creek to see what happened when Daniel was visited by good-guys Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, and their arch foe Barricade.
Daniel lived with his mum and his older brother Jack, eight, in Plympton. Both brothers attended Eggbuckland Vale Primary School.
His school teachers are now wanting to raise awareness DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Potine Glioma) which strikes at the heart of childhood as well as for Children’s Hospice South West which helped Daniel and his family in the final months.
Stephanie, Jack and Daniel spent family time together at the Little Harbour in St Austell, a “home-from-home” hospice where families can “find time and space to feel normal.”
The family arrived at Little Harbour on December 11 and stayed right up until when Daniel passed away.
Stephanie said: “Without the people who work at Little Harbour, I couldn’t have coped.
“They’re all amazing. They continue to look after you even when the child has passed away, they run parent groups and bereavement sessions.
“Daniel’s school have been fantastic, I think they’re hoping to get climbing equipment in Daniel’s honour.
“Daniel was into everything, he was a typical boy and was a character until the end.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone for their help and for being there for us. It does help to restore your faith in humanity.”
Teachers at Eggbuckland Vale are set to take to the Catwalk tomorrow as they hold their first fundraiser in memory of Daniel.
The ‘shopoholic fashion show’ will be from 7pm on March 9 at the school. The night will include a range of clothes from high street and online retailers with discounts of 30 to 60 per cent.
All money raised on the night will go to Children’s Hospice South West. Tickets are £5 each.