Burnley-born Everton fan Abigail Page had the surprise of her life as she lay in bed in The Christie Hospital, Manchester.
Because when the phone rang it was her all-time Goodison favourite Duncan Ferguson on the other end wishing her well.
Abigail, 38, of Mereclough, Cliviger, Burnley, who is suffering from acute lymphocytic leukemia, said: “I was just glowing. I haven’t stopped smiling since. In fact, my face is aching I am smiling that much. That phone call has made up for five years of misery.
“When he said he was Duncan Ferguson I thought it was someone taking the Mick. Then I realised it was him. I could just tell his voice."
Last October Abigail slipped into an unconscious state at The Christie and doctors gave her only hours to live. However, she recovered from the ordeal and went on to spend five weeks in Pendleside Hospice, Burnley, where she married her childhood sweetheart Mark Clegg a week before Christmas.
She had previously been a day services patient at Pendleside and is full of praise for the hospice.
She returned to her home in Cliviger, Burnley, in the New Year but a month or so later suffered an infection which saw her return to The Christie.
Her dad Alan Rowe was born in Everton and when Abigail was a young teenager he would take her over to watch the Toffees from the Upper Bullens End even though the family lived in Burnley. Both Abigail and husband Mark later became season ticket holders in the Top Balcony in the main stand.
Of the phone chat with Big Dunc she said: “He asked me who my favourite players were and I told him he was my all-time favourite and that Tim Cahill was my second favourite. But I also said in the present squad my favourites were Bernard, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman who I think are fantastic.
“I told him when he first arrived from Rangers I thought he was better than all the rest of the team put together!
“I honestly couldn’t believe it, he was so kind. He spoke for about 10 minutes. When I rang my dad straight afterwards, I could hardly talk I was so giddy.
“Then I rang my husband Mark and he said the hairs on the back of HIS neck were standing up at the thought of me talking to Duncan.”
Everton have launched the ‘Blue Family’ campaign to maintain contact with fans and provide support and assistance to the most vulnerable, socially isolated and ‘at risk’ members of society across Liverpool - and beyond - in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the campaign, the Everton Fan Centre and members of the first-team staff are calling thousands of season ticket members to maintain contact and provide a friendly voice to talk to, prioritising the elderly, the isolated and vulnerable.