Former Hatter JJ O’Donnell could have seen his career saved by the help of Premier League footballer Danny Graham, writes Mike Simmonds.
The 23-year-old recently revealed on Twitter that it was doubtful he would ever play again due to suffer from Sesamoiditis, a condition which causes inflammation in the bones under his toes.
With parent club Gateshead refusing to pay for his treatment, expected to cost around £7,000, fans from both Luton and the Tynesiders clubbed together and set on an online donation page.
Graham, who was born in Gateshead and currently plays for Sunderland, then sent over £2,690 to help fund the operation, writing ‘Hope the operation is a success,’ on the page.
After hearing about the donation and reaching his required amount to pay for the treatment, O’Donnell, who played 51 times for Luton, scoring three goals, tweeted: “Incredible we’ve done it.
“3 weeks ago I was totally lost and hopeless when I got told that Gateshead FC were unable to pay for any more treatment.
“I’m truly astonished with the response since they, with you as football fans, supporters and fellow players giving me amazing support and generosity in giving me to play again.
“I’ll forever be in great debt and appreciation to every single penny that’s been donated to help me!!
“If I could thank you all face to face then I would delightfully do so. I got calls of family last night saying about a £2690 donation from the Sunderland striker Danny Graham.
“I’m not singling Danny out as without everybody I wouldn’t have ever reached my target, but a donation like that has left me speechless.
“I’ve never met Danny but for him to put an astronomical amount like that towards a fund of a lad who he doesn’t know speaks volumes of what a true gentleman he is.
“Hopefully I’m able to meet Danny and thank him personally for an incredible thing to do.”