Tranmere Rovers supporters have rallied to help a young fan who touched their hearts but has now only been given months to live.

Nathaniel Gidman, known as Nate, has Medulloblastoma - a cancerous brain tumour found in children.

The five-year-old Rovers fan has received intensive treatment in hospital for over 12 months, but last week the family were given the life-shattering news that Nate’s condition is worsening.

Phil Gidman, Nate’s dad, told the Globe: “The professor began with the words “I’m sorry…” Nate was in with us and I stared at him. I felt like I could’ve stopped breathing there and then. Why my little boy?

“I’d honestly thought he had been getting better, but the cancer had been rapidly progressing. The medication that he had been on that was making him poorly, hadn’t been beating the cancer.

“I couldn’t speak, aside from at the end. I shook the oncologist’s hand and mumbled a thank you.

“His mum managed to ask how long and he said it was difficult to tell, but given the amount of disease - then came the pause.

“I’d hoped for a few years. He said six months.”

Nate Gidman (centre) - with his mum, Nicola Smith and dad Phil - has a brain cancer called Medulloblastoma

Nate Gidman (centre) - with his mum, Nicola Smith and dad Phil - has a brain cancer called Medulloblastoma

Phil is originally from Woodville Road in Birkenhead, but the family now lives in Lincoln.

Nate’s situation came to light for Tranmere supporters after Phil started sharing updates about their struggle on Twitter.

Following Phil’s heartbreaking update last week, supporter Simon Crabtree set up an online fundraiser to help give Nate and his family the opportunity to make lasting memories.

But plans to raise £1,000 where eclipsed in a matter of hours and so far, over £7,000 has been raised.

Simon told the Globe: “This kid has touched our hearts, we have laughed with him and also cried with him. Phil is an absolute tower of strength and is so dignified in his approach to it all.

“I have been blown away with the generosity of people.”

The treatment Nate - who loves Thomas the Tank Engine - has had to undergo following his diagnosis in September 2020, can only be described as gruelling.

He has undergone multiple brain surgeries, the first of which was nine hours long to remove the initial tumour, followed by multiple chest surgeries to fit chest lines and a brain drain.

Then came 30 radiotherapy sessions and four months in Sheffield to undergo high dose chemotherapy.

Since April he has been based at home, in between sicknesses, having oral chemotherapy.

Prior to his ordeal, it took a while for the family to get a formal diagnosis.

A happy Nate, before his diagnosis

A happy Nate, before his diagnosis

Phil said: "This came after a couple of months of going to various medical departments trying to find out why he was being sick every morning. It ran like clockwork - 6.15am every morning. He’d be sick and then be able to go about his day.

"What was happening was the tumour was blocking the flow of the brain fluid and creating excess pressure, thus causing him to be sick.

"What we where told before was it was excess stomach acid. The weekend before the diagnosis we’d taken him to an out of hours GP because a massively aggressive vomiting fit had caused his left eye to turn inwards. The out of hours GP assured us it was just an aggressive viral infection.

"It took me pushing for a CT Scan to reveal the mass.

"I remember after being told repeatedly over the past weeks that it was something else, a doctor came to me and Nate in his hospital bed, flanked by three other nurses. One of them took Nate away and the doctor confirmed that they had found a mass.

"This was during Covid restrictions and only one parent could be present. Mum had prepared an overnight bag for Nate in case he’d needed to stop the night and she was en route to bring it in for us as it was getting late.

"She walked onto the ward expecting to hand over the bag and I broke down upon laying my eyes on her.

"I had to tell her that our beautiful little boy was growing a monster in his head."

After having to digest the devastating news about Nate, Phil eventually found that sharing his and Nate's journey on Twitter helped him to cope with the situation and found kindred spirits in his fellow Tranmere Rovers supporters online.

He said: "I was always a guy that kept a lot of personal stuff to myself. Things that would be better out in the open, I locked away and dealt with them in silence or buried them.

"I understood quickly the gravity of the world that I was about to step into with Nate and his cancer. I needed support, I needed to talk, rationalise the gravity of what I was going through."

Having being forced to take it in turns with Nate's mum Nicola, to stay in hospital with their son, Phil soon released why it was so important that he didn't feel alone.

He said: "The first ward we went on was a neurological ward, not a cancer ward and there where these poor little souls who would be in audible pain throughout the night, screaming.

"Sometimes there was an overspill from the oncology ward to the neuro ward and I remember a girl who had blood cancer crying into the night because one of the friends she’d made, whilst she was transferred, had died due to the illness.

"I’ve heard kids in the worst imaginable pain… and then the silence when their pain…stops."

Phil and Nate at Rotherham United, where Stefan Payne helped Tranmere to snatch a last minute equaliser. Phil would later use the photo to share news about Nates diagnosis

Phil and Nate at Rotherham United, where Stefan Payne helped Tranmere to snatch a last minute equaliser. Phil would later use the photo to share news about Nate's diagnosis

Phil's escape from his family's living nightmare is Tranmere Rovers and it's thanks to the Super White Army that he has maintained his externally strong focus.

Even in Nate's short lifespan, he has been able to create precious father and son memories following Rovers.

"I’m so proud of where I’m from. You get me in a crowd of those people with the voices and sounds to remind me of where I’m from whilst we all share a common interest.

"My son was born in Lincoln but as soon as he turned two, we’d jump on a train and go to the local away days.

"I remember the first time I took him into the crowd. Tequila was being fired out for a solid half hour before the game began and he was absolutely amazed.

"He said nothing but I could see the wonder in his eyes. His mum picked us up from the game and he began chanting. It carried on with a censored rendition of “Oh Birkenhead” in the bath!"

Phil recalls an away trip to Rotherham United in League One, when Rovers clinched a last-gasp draw.

"He was there when Stefan Payne hit that last minute equaliser in Rotherham and at the top of the stand I threw him on my shoulders in jubilation.

"It was a picture from that game I used when I broke the news. One of the SWA was poorly and needed supporting. He was supposed to grow old supporting the team and now he needed it back.

"I did not expect the response back that we got at all.

"Various branches of the Rovers family has been iconic in their support. Be it financially like the fund raiser set up by Simon, that so many people have kindly donated to, or just the absolute outpouring of love. It’s crazy, it’s overwhelming.

"This fundraiser will allow us to make many more memorable moments with our son before he leaves us and again sort out the final part of his journey."

To view Simon Crabtree's fundraising page, set up to help Nate and his family, click here.

For more information about Medulloblastoma, click here.