DONCASTER Rovers striker Billy Sharp is setting up a charity in memory of his baby son after hundreds of fans asked how they could help in the wake of the tragedy.
Sharp took to social networking site Twitter to tell well-wishers that he would be setting up a charity to support research for gastroschisis and for Martin House Children’s Hospice after baby Luey Jacob died aged just two-days-old.
The striker hopes some of the money can fund research into gastroschisis - a birth defect in which an infant’s intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord.
Posting on his Twitter site he said: “this time a week ago, I spent the last few minutes with my son luey watchin match of the day before he passed away.”
In another post he added: “Everybody asking about donations, jade and I will be setting up a charity to support research for gastroschisis and @MartinHouseCH.”
Support flooded in from across the country after Sharp courageously took to the football pitch just days after the tragedy on October 29 and dedicated his goal against Middlesbrough to baby Luey by unveiling a T-shirt bearing the words ‘that’s for you son’.
Gareth Thomas, chairman of The Viking Supporters Co-operative decided to help raise funds after he was inundated by fans asking how they could help.
Around £600 has already been raised in just over a week.
He said: “Lots of fans were getting in touch asking how they could help so we just wanted to do our bit.
“My wife Karen trained as a paediatric nurse and knows a lot about gastroschisis.
“I think everyone was moved by Billy’s determination to play and when he scored even my friend who is quite a hard nosed businessman said he had a tear in his eye.
“Football fans from across the country have been offering their support, I’ve even had contact from Swindon Town wanting to donate something to raise money.”
People who want to donate can text the word Martin to 70099 for the funds to go directly to Martin House Children’s Hospice in Wetherby. People can also donate online via the Viking SC website where the money will be stored until a charity is set up.
To make a donation visit www.drfc-vsc.co.uk scroll down to the bottom of the forum page and look at the ‘Information Box’ to the ‘Make a donation to the VSC’ link.
An e-Bay auction is also taking place with Rovers autographs and shirts up for grabs to raise funds.
Fellow pros Teddy Sheringham, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Savage and Michael Owen are among those who have Tweeted support.