After reading the letter, Harry, a big Evertonian, was invited to meet his hero.
I’m writing on behalf of my eight-year-old son, Harry. Harry is a massive football fan & staunch Evertonian, often found trying to convert his teacher and classmates. You are his favourite player & he loves nothing more than to watch you saving shots at Goodison Park or on TV.
Harry was delighted to see you representing Everton and our country in Qatar at the recent World Cup and was glued to every game. He absolutely loves playing in goal and recreating some of your saves. His favourite kits are always the goalkeeper kits with your name proudly displayed on the back. You are his idol. Harry has taken to signing all birthday cards to friends as "Harry Pickford".
In recent years, Harry has faced a significant amount of adversity.
Harry was quickly admitted to the intensive care unit at Alder Hey’s Children’s Hospital. We were told to prepare for the worst as Harry fought the fight of his life. The medics soon discovered that Harry’s difficulties were the result of a 8cm long brain tumour. The tumour’s location meant that it was pushing against the nerves that control breathing, speech and swallow. Harry’s inability to swallow safely had led to his lungs becoming so poorly.
The wonderful team at Alder Hey managed to get Harry stable enough to withstand 9 hours of neurosurgery where they were able to remove over 90% of the tumour. The remaining part is deeply embedded into his central nervous system so had to remain. To our delight, Harry bounced back to life and we watched him make a remarkable recovery.
Nine months later we were hit with the devastating news that the remaining part of the tumour had become active and that Harry would need a course of Proton Beam Radiotherapy Therapy at The Christie’s Hospital, Manchester to try and prevent further growth.
As his treatment was nearing completion, Harry’s father suddenly and unexpectedly died at the age of 40. Sadly, I did not have the opportunity to prepare Harry or his sister for their loss and they didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye to their dad. Harry was heartbroken by this news yet he had to put his grief on hold to complete his treatment. He was a warrior and without complaint he carried on.
We remain hopeful that the treatment has been effective but it has come at a cost for Harry. The treatment has caused swelling which means that the fluid cannot circulate properly around his brain. This has caused hydrocephalus and a cluster of cysts to form. Harry has had to undergo two further neurological procedures and intense steroid treatment. The steroids caused significant weight gain & muscle weakness impacting Harry’s ability to play his favourite sport. Harry still suffered with severe headaches and is closely monitored.
Unsurprisingly, Harry is my inspiration and my hero but I am writing to you because you are his inspiration and and you are his hero. I wanted you to know about the positive impact you have had on this little boy’s life and to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the happiness that you have brought him through a very difficult time. You have been his motivation to push on and to pursue his dreams no matter what.
When he grows up he wants to be just like you and thanks to the team at Alder Hey he still has a future to look forward to.
Keep up the good work Jordan. No doubt many children like Harry look up to you. You have no idea how many lives you touch, how many children you are reaching and the positive impact you are having.
Laura, Harry’s mum