Players dig deep to help at Christmas
The Wolves players have stepped in to help a young supporter undergo an operation which could potentially help her walk for the first time.
Young Jessie-Leigh Smith suffers from cerebral palsy, and requires an operation which costs £16,000 from Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital, to help her feel more comfortable and potentially allow her to walk.
Family and friends have rallied around to raise £8,000, and Jessie was a mascot at Wolves’ fixture with Barnsley in September.
Her story touched the hearts of the Wolves players, and they decided to all a collective contribution to help the Smith family reach their target.
Jessie-Leigh and parents Chris and Clare were invited to the Compton Park training ground today on the premise of watching training, only to receive a special surprise.
“We met Jessie-Leigh when she was a mascot at the Barnsley game and myself and a few of the lads chatted to her Dad after the game,” said skipper Danny Batth.
“The players got together a few days afterwards and just started thinking about if there was anything we could do to help with Jessie-Leigh’s situation.
“We found out that the family and friends were already doing some fundraising and also about the operation and how it could potentially help her and change her life.
“I put it to the lads in the dressing room and we all put some money into a pot and here we are now presenting a cheque and hopefully improving things for the family just before Christmas.
“Jessie-Leigh is just a little girl who doesn’t know any different. And I think all the lads wanted to come together to try and do something which might help ease her pain or even help her to walk.
“Her Dad Chris has supported Wolves for so many years and so we just wanted to support him and his family when they really need it.
“Jessie-Leigh has already been carried out as a mascot and now the hope is that one day she may be able to come back and do it again and this time be walking out with the lads.”
Chris admitted he felt “numb” after receiving the cheque.
“I was lost for words and can’t thank the players enough,” he said.
“I had no idea this was going to happen.
“We have already raised half for the operation with various activities,” she said.
“We have been going to a lot of lengths to try and achieve this.
“We are both full-time carers so it is very difficult to raise too much money and we have tried our best and done what we can.
“Every penny of fundraising has helped, and only recently a family in Bushbury have helped us by inviting visitors to their ‘Frozen’ Christmas lights with a donation box for Jessie-Leigh.
“Family, friends, the public – everybody has been trying as much as they can and they really don’t know how much this means to us.
“It is a long operation with a lot to go through afterwards but hopefully we will reach the goal that we have set out to do which is for Jessie-Leigh to take her first steps.”
Head Coach Paul Lambert said he was full of praise for the players who had decided they wanted to help.
“This was something that had started off before I was at the club and the lads had decided they wanted to do something,” he said.
“When they mentioned it to me I just helped them get it over the line but when you look at it, it is an incredible gesture.
“Coming together as a squad I think it is a fantastic thing they have done for such a great cause as helping Jessie-Leigh.”