A collection will be held at Altrincham FC tonight to raise funds for the sister of Robins striker Tom Peers, who was paralysed in a freak accident earlier this year.
Vicki Griffiths, a firefighter and mum of two from Warrington, broke her back in March while weightlifting at the gym.
While lifting 130kg, Vicki wobbled and fell forwards instead of backwards, causing her body to jackknife.
The 31-year-old was rushed to Aintree Hospital in Liverpool and had titanium rods inserted in her spine during an emergency four-hour operation.
But, tragically, Vicki had broken a bone in the middle of her spinal cord, leaving her paralysed from the waist down.
After many weeks in hospital and then a rehabilitation centre in Southport, Vicki has moved back home to a new, more suitable house in Warrington with partner Dave and kids Luke, 10, and Noah, four.
Friends, family and her colleagues at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have already launched a series of fundraising initiatives to try and generate the thousands of pounds needed to adapt the house further.
And while planning a bucket collection of their own at an upcoming home game, Chester officials approached Alty for permission to conduct one at The J Davidson Stadium in tonight’s pre-season friendly, which was immediately granted by the club.
And striker Tom Peers, who spent five years at Chester before joining the Robins over the summer, said his sister would be hugely grateful for any donations.
“It’s a credit to Alty and Chester and a great welcome for my family,” he said. “I hope everyone will dig deep.”
Tom said the past few months had been “very tough” for his family, with Vicki having to come to terms with her life-changing accident.
“It’s something you don’t expect. It’s been life-changing but Vicki has been an absolute credit and is trying to make the best of it. She’s taken it better than most people could have done.
“She was really active – apart from the kids, that was her life. For it to happen to such an active person is very hard to come to terms with.
“Events like tonight help because it shows her that people care.”
Tom said the prognosis for Vicki had not changed since the initial prognosis three months ago.
“They told us that it’s 100% she will never walk again, but we still have hope.
“She is one of the most positive people you could meet. She’s still dead smiley all the time.”
Tom, who has also had spells with Nantwich, Telford, Hednesford and Salford City, made an impressive debut for Alty in Saturday’s 4-1 win at Kidsgrove Athletic and earned high praise from manager Phil Parkinson.
The 21-year-old said he had been very impressed by the set-up at the J Davidson Stadium.
“We have a good season ahead of us,” he predicted. “Everything is dead professional and the manager has been really good with us.”