Christmas came early for Everton-mad youngster Dylan when striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin fulfilled a year-long promise to visit him at home in Widnes.
The two chatted via a surprise video-link this time last year, shortly after 14-year-old Dylan had undergone a nine-hour emergency operation to deal with a brain aneurysm, which left him needing rehabilitation to assist with his mobility, speech and eyesight.
At the time, Covid restrictions meant that Calvert-Lewin couldn’t visit the teenager in person to deliver VIP tickets to a game at Goodison, as part of Everton’s True Blue Crimbo campaign to reward deserving youngsters who endured a tough year.
But an unexpected ring of the doorbell earlier this week left Dylan stunned to see the Blues’ and England striker on his doorstep, bearing more seasonal gifts.
Mum Tina who, along with Dad, Kev and younger sister Casey are also avid Evertonians, said:
“It was amazing to see Dominic and Dylan was stunned when he saw who was at the door to see him.
“He’s had such a tough year and Dominic was lovely, even with my daughter. He just made us all feel so comfortable and Dylan ended up asking him so many questions, they didn’t get round to playing a game of FIFA, as we’d planned!
“This time last year, when Dylan had the Zoom call with Dom, he was struggling with his speech, whereas this time he couldn’t keep quiet.
“To see the difference in him, having a conversation with his favourite player, was amazing and it’s made his Christmas.”
Dylan whose health issues resulted in him spending a couple of months in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to aid his recovery, is now almost back to full health.
The teenager is back in Year 10 at his local High School, and even able to join in for short spells with Widnes-based football team, Moorfield AFC.
Calvert-Lewin, who arrived armed with a festive bundle of Club merchandise, added:
“It was fantastic to finally be able to visit Dylan in person, following our chat this time last year.
“He’s such a positive character who has been through a lot in the past year, so to see him looking so well and hear that he’s back at school, playing football for his team and generally enjoying life again was great to hear.
“Dylan and his wonderfully supportive family deserve all the luck in the world after what they’ve been through and I was delighted to be able to meet them all in person and wish them a merry Christmas.”