Newcastle United centre-back Mike Williamson was the guest of honour at the Bravehearts of the North East awards ceremony last week at St. James' Park.
Around 25 youngsters from across the region came to the Bamburgh Suite at the stadium, where they were presented with bravery awards by Williamson, BBC Look North's Carol Malia and South Shields Paralympic gold medallist Josef Craig.
The children receiving the awards have battled against serious illnesses for the last few years and were rewarded for their courage.
"It was really uplifting for me to be here," said Williamson, who is a patron for the Bravehearts charity, an organisation that recognises bravery and courage of children in the North-East.
"Their bravery is phenomenal and each and every one of them was a hero in my eyes - I wish them all the very best for the future."
Dave Hodgkins, chairman of the Bravehearts committee said: "It was a tremendous afternoon for all the children, made even more memorable by Mike being in attendance.
"He was terrific with the children and brought a smile to all their faces. We are very grateful for Newcastle United's support of this event and wish them well for the remainder of the season, especially after the last two superb wins over Chelsea and Tottenham."