Simon Cowell reveals he has the same fears as any other father and admits his greatest worry is outliving two-year son-old Eric who he had with his partner Lauren Silverman.
Simon is backing the The Mirror's Christmas appeal saying “Now that I am a father I understand on a much deeper level how devastating it would be to hear the news that your child was unwell.
“Knowing you will outlive your own child is everyone’s worst nightmare and I am more aware than ever that it can happen to anyone.”
He is a patron for Together for Short Lives, which helps about 49,000 children with life-shortening or life-threatening conditions, which mean they are not expected to reach adulthood.
The charity does all it can to make the children’s brief lives fulfilled and happy, funding hospices, providing respite care and lobbying the Government to fund palliative care.
Simon became a patron after being moved by the bravery of the children and the families he met through the charity. And he knows just how lucky he is.
He says: “I am constantly blown away by the resilience of the families I have met.”
He began supporting Together for Short Lives seven years ago and says: “It has been life-changing for me. It started when I visited a local children’s hospice.
“I was really expecting to feel sad but was so surprised that in fact it was the exact opposite. The moment I walked through the doors I was greeted with warmth and a sense of optimism.
“Even though I could see how complex the situations were for the children being cared for, it was obvious these families were being looked after in the most loving environment, with nurses and doctors who were making sure they received the special care and medicines they deserved.”
Simon makes regular visits to children’s hospices and organises special events for the families to help them create as many happy memories as possible during their limited time together.
He says: “I like to go to hospices as often as I can and we have a tea party for the families at The Dorchester each year, to give them a great day out to remember.
“I count myself incredibly lucky to be able to be part of that and see how happy it can make these truly brave families. Days like that are always incredibly humbling.
“I’ve met some very young kids who have all sorts of very different conditions. It’s the spirit and bravery of them all though – the kids and the families – that really shines through and inspires me.”
Simon has a close friendship with Sian Tolfree, who was just seven years old when they first met – and he eventually became her godfather.
Sian, of Leatherhead, Surrey, has Di-George Syndrome, a rare congenital heart and lung disease caused by missing coding on one of her chromosomes.
Simon, who quickly nicknamed her “Trouble”, invited Sian to be a guest of honour at his 50th birthday party.
Simon says: “I first met Sian at a hospice in London and her family immediately made an impression on me.
"She was only seven when I met them but even at that age she had such a big personality and an amazing sense of humour.
“Sian has suffered with so many complicated illnesses over the years – and she is still battling – but she never lets it get her down.
"Every year I grew closer and closer to the family, so much so that now I count them as my own family and I am now Sian’s godfather.
“She’s a regular at The X Factor now – she’s the best critic. I’m always getting text messages from her.”
Sian, now 21, has said: “Simon’s like an uncle. He’s got a heart of gold really. He’s a bit of a softie – he loves animals, children and chocolate. He’s not a hard man at heart.”
Her mum Tina revealed: “As soon as Simon walked through the door they had this natural, jokey relationship. And he has never let her down.”
You can help with the Together for Short Lives Mirror Christmas Appeal by texting “TFSL16 £10” to 70070 to donate £10. Go to www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/mirror