Source: South Manchester Reporter
PLAYERS and supporters of FC United are banding together to help raise money for a disabled boy from Chorlton.
Alex Croft, eight, has cerebral palsy, and would benefit from a state-of-the-art wheelchair costing £15,000, which isn’t available on the NHS.
Although Alex can’t walk or stand up because he can’t support his own weight he can get around by crawling. He also has to use a special system to sleep in order to keep his body straight so he doesn‘t get curvature of the spine.
So far the team have raised more than £5,000 for the fund and the coffers will be filled further by a public question and answer night with the players and club management, and an auction which takes place on Thursday, April 13, at Chorlton Irish Club, on High Lane, at 7pm.
Les Croft, Alex’s father, said: "He’s had two chairs that the NHS have provided so far. One broke down every other week because he was given a reconditioned model. He was given a brand new one in February and when it was delivered it fell apart.
"The new chair, which includes a special package to measure Alex every year to make sure it still fits, will change his life.
"The chair moves up to adult eye level and down to the floor so he’ll be able to get in and out on his own. At the moment we have to put him in and out so he still has no independence.
"It was a case of fundrasing or having to remortgage. But then Alex’s disability starts affecting our five-year-old girl because we wouldn’t be able to go on holidays or days out. We didn’t think that was fair on her."
Alex first came to the club’s attention because he was the first supporter to go to matches in a wheelchair. He even has the team crest on his spoke guard.
After Les put just one message on an internet site for FC United he received £200 from their supporters.
Bucket collections at the matches added a further £1,590 to the fund.
Later this year George Hayden, the man who washes the players’ kits is taking part in a 500-mile sponsored bike ride. And players David Chadwick and Steve Torpey are also running the Chorlton 5km Fun Run with Alex’s mother Clare on May 1.
On April 13 an auction will also include David Beckham memorabilia donated by his father, Ted, and Barcelona have promised to send some kit owned by Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o.
Les said: "It’s unbelievable that everyone’s got on board. I was expecting to get five items to auction but it’s gone through the roof. I’m speechless over what they have done really. It’s stunning what people have done for us when they don’t know us and it’s just because we are FC United supporters."
Tickets for April 13 cost £5. For more information or to donate visit www.unitedforalex.com or send a cheque, payable to Alex Croft, to the United for Alex Appeal, 9 Brookburn Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 8FF.
First published by the South Manchester Reporter