My Everton #63: My Goodison Commitment

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I come from a family of Evertonians, you could say it’s in my blood.  

At the age of just four, I started attending home games with my Dad and brothers.    

However, it was ahead of the 2009/10 season when I got my first season ticket, sitting in the Paddock where I still sit now with my Dad, Billy.   

While there’s typically been plenty of ups and downs following the Toffees since then, last season was the most memorable for different reasons.    

In June 2021, two weeks before my 22nd birthday, I was diagnosed with a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumour.

Soon after, I underwent a life-saving operation at The Walton Centre. After this followed multiple rounds of radiotherapy and I am still receiving ongoing chemotherapy now.   

Despite this, I was committed more than ever to getting down to Goodison Park and watching the Blues.    

It wasn’t always easy. The treatment often left me feeling pretty rough and tired. But going to Goodison to watch Everton helped to keep some normality in my life.   

The Club heard of my story and arranged for me to meet ambassadors Graham Stuart and Ian Snodin before the Leicester City game in April and I got to feature in the matchday programme ahead of the Chelsea home game earlier this year, which was good.      

While attending games allowed me to maintain that normality, of course it also proved to be an extremely stressful season for both I and all Evertonians.   

Relegation was a real and daunting possibility.

I was there for the final home game of the campaign against Crystal Palace. It was anxious and tense throughout, although the atmosphere was electric.    

I think it was typical of Everton in the way it played out, two goals down at half-time yet finding the energy to score three times in the second half.   

When that third goal went in, I still remember the crowd erupting and I don’t think I’ve ever heard Goodison Park so loud.    

After the final whistle blew which secured Premier League safety, the crowd piled onto the pitch.   

My mate, Mo, who we’d met from sitting in the Paddock all these years, dragged me onto the pitch where I joined the many other thousands of Everton fans in singing and celebrating our survival.    

In what had been a testing and turbulent year, it was undoubtedly one of my best highlights.    

By Oliver Cooper-Grace  

Oliver’s tumour has progressed, and his family are now seeking alternative treatments in Germany, not funded by the National Health Service.  

His family launched a Just Giving Page online for Oliver earlier this year and are extremely close to reaching their target of £50,000. Evertonians who want to help Oliver reach that target can donate here. 

Talented artist Will Buchanan has also sketched a portrait of captain Seamus Coleman – to be signed by the player himself – which will be raffled off, with all proceeds going towards the target for Oliver’s treatment. 

Will is originally from Walton but has lived in New Zealand for 13 years. He is a concept artist and illustrator working in the film industry and has worked on many successful films including The Hobbit trilogy and Star Wars.

You can enter the raffle to win the excellent portrait of Seamus Coleman here.