Eight-year-old Everton fan Harry recently experienced a dream come true after being invited by one of his heroes, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, to lead the team out onto the pitch. Harry’s mum had written to Pickford to share her son’s story, which included his treatment for a brain tumour and the sudden death of his dad. Harry was nervous but excited to be a mascot for the match against Spurs at Goodison Park.
At the age of five, Harry became critically ill and was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis. Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool discovered an 8cm brain tumour, and were able to remove 90% of it. However, the remaining part was embedded deeply into his central nervous system and the tumour became active again nine months later. Harry had radiotherapy to treat it.
Just as Harry’s treatment was nearing completion, his father died unexpectedly. His mum wrote to Pickford to tell him about Harry’s love for Everton and playing in goal. Before the match, Harry visited the home dressing room and told his heroes to tackle and score.
Although Spurs’ Harry Kane scored, Michael Keane equalised in the 90th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for the Toffeemen. After the game, Harry said it had been a “very good day” and he had loved it. Pickford said it was about a community making people happy, and that hopefully they had done that by putting smiles on people’s faces. Harry’s mum said she couldn’t put into words how hard the last couple of years have been for her son, and that this had been the biggest treat.
Harry’s story is an inspiring example of how a community can come together to make someone’s dream come true. It shows that even in difficult times, there is still hope and joy to be found.