The young cancer patient who was Everton’s ‘good luck charm’ against Chelsea
1 year ago
A young cancer patient was Everton’s ‘lucky charm’ for the match against Chelsea after being gifted tickets by midfielder Anthony Gordon.
Seven-year-old football fan River Rhodes, who is currently undergoing treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects soft tissue, was guest of honour at Goodison on Sunday.
He was invited to the game and given the opportunity to meet winger Gordon, who presented him with a signed shirt as a keepsake after the all-important 1-0 victory.
The number 24 shirt had the message ‘Thank you for coming to watch me play, you are the good luck charm’.
River was clearly over the moon to meet the young Blues star, who had an extra treat lined up for him – a go behind the wheel of his supercar.
On his River the Champ Twitter account, he thanked Gordon for making the day so special, adding ‘Anthony Gordon made me so welcome and made all of this happen. I even sat in his Lambo!”
River also got the chance to meet and have photos taken with two of the other heroes of the win, goalscorer Richarlison and keeper Jordan Pickford, as well as Alex Iwobi who was one of the men of the match.
He presented his favourite players with post-match chocolates, joking afterwards that he would have given Alex Iwobi more if he’d known he was celebrating his 26th birthday.
The little lad also pledged to become an honorary Blues fan for at least the rest of the season, saying he would be supporting all the Everton team in the last few games as they battle to stay up.
River, who is from Wolverhampton and is actually a massive Wolves fan, became well known after a video of him watching Wanderers beat the Blues back in March was shared on Tik Tok and viewed more than two million times in less than 24 hours.
As players walked back to the Goodison dressing room after their 1-0 victory, they stripped off their shirts one by one to hand to him before heading down the tunnel.
Captain Conor Coady, who scored the winning goal, then lifted River up into the air to huge cheers from the celebrating Wolves fans.
This return trip had a happier ending for Blues and was the start of a big weekend of footy for the brave youngster, who went on to Old Trafford on Bank Holiday Monday to watch United against Brentford.
He has been on a journey to spread the love of football ever since he was diagnosed at the end of last year.
His mum Kerry O’Kelly was initially told her son’s swollen eye was likely to be due to a bacterial infection or hay fever. But when it didn’t improve with antibiotics, she took him back to the hospital where an MRI scan and biopsies revealed rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancerous tumour.
River is currently having treatment at The Christie hospital in Manchester – an intense course of chemotherapy over the next 12 months, followed by radiotherapy. His family have been told he could potentially lose either partial sight or the full sight of his right eye.
In addition to being a matchday VIP at lots of Premier League clubs, a GoFundMe page has also been set up by friends to support the family, help them make memories and put a smile on the lad’s face.
It already stands at more than £10,000, well exceeding an original £6,000 target.