Like many afflictions that plague mankind, cancer is one that knows no age nor social divide. Gary Stevens enjoyed a playing career that brought joy to so many Evertonians over the years, but now the legend needs your help, especially if you can get to Goodison Park for just a few minutes this weekend.
Stevens’ 4-year-old son Jack suffers from a rare form of blood cancer that affects children called juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia. Unfortunately, he has suffered a relapse from his treatment for the cancer, and is now in desperate need of a matching stem cell donor.
Everton are hosting a stem cell donor clinic at Goodison Park this weekend, from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 9am-3pm on Sunday where a simple and painless series of swabs are taken from the inside of the mouth in a five-minute registration process. Fans aged between 17-55 and in good health are invited to visit the People’s Club Lounge, situated in the Park End at Goodison Park to help not just the Stevens family but to also become part of the stem cell database which could match them to needy patients anywhere in the world.
“Imagine having the power to save someone’s life?"— Everton (@Everton) September 30, 2021
On 9-10 October at Goodison Park, a walk-up clinic hosted by @DKMS_uk will aim to boost the number of lifesaving stem cell donors.
Could you be a match for Gary Stevens' son Jack? Or someone else in need around the world?
Stevens, who now lives in Australia, said:
“Imagine having the power to save someone’s life? If you like the idea of having that power, please get yourself down to Goodison and support the event. You can have a simple mouth swab, register within five minutes and you may find yourself saving somebody’s life on the other side of the world.
“It’s been a tough few years for the Stevens’ family, with my little boy having a rare form of leukaemia. The support we have had all the way through this difficult time has been very comforting, and it might be that it’s a little too late to save Jack.
“However, there are little kids all over the world who are desperately in need of a match for their stem cells, and I know Evertonians will get behind this event, so please give your time and you might find yourself a superhero!”
Fans aged between 17-55, and in good health, are invited to visit the People’s Club Lounge, situated in the Park End at Goodison Park, on Saturday 9 October and Sunday 10 October, when a simple and painless series of swabs are taken from the inside of the mouth in a five-minute registration process.
Fellow club legends Kevin Ratcliffe, Derek Mountfield and Kevin Sheedy have thrown their weight behind Stevens in urging Blues to show up in droves this weekend.
Ratcliffe, the Club’s most successful-ever captain, said:
“It goes without saying that this is such an important event at Goodison Park.
“As Gary says, having the chance to possibly save someone’s life is an incredible opportunity. All the lads are with Gary at this very difficult time and I would urge anyone and everyone to get to Goodison this weekend. You just never know…you could be the difference.”
Former defensive partner Mountfield added:
“I know Gary and his family very well and it’s a heart-breaking situation for them.
“Things like this go well beyond football rivalry and I’m sure everyone on Merseyside, whether you’re Everton, Liverpool, Tranmere Rovers, or even if you’re not a football fan, will get behind this event.
“It’s quick, it’s easy and it could save someone’s life. Gary gave us all so much pleasure during his career and it’s a chance for us all to give something back.”
Ex-Republic of Ireland winger Sheedy, another former colleague of Stevens, said:
“Gary was a fighter as a player and he and his family have got a real fight on now. I wish him well and I am sure that everyone, not just football supporters, will get behind the stem cell event at Goodison Park this weekend.
“Many children like Jack need a chance and someone, somewhere out there could be the one.”
If contacted at a later date, fans who have the lifesaving potential of becoming a stem cell donor will be asked to give up half a day to travel to specialist centres in either Birmingham, Sheffield or London to become a donor. All costs would be covered and employers contacted by the charity to ensure time off work can be granted for a worthy cause.
If you can’t make the event at Goodison Park, but still want to help and are aged 17-55 and in good general health, then you can still register online for your home swab kit, or donate towards the cost of processing the swabs, at www.dkms.org.uk/jack.