Dartford’s first-team players have chipped in to help one of the club’s women players edge closer to the road to recovery.
Dartford Women’s Gemma Shepherd sustained a ruptured cruciate ligament during their Women’s FA Cup match against Ashford last month, having earlier scored the opening goal to put the Darts on their way to a 2-0 victory.
Shepherd’s side are hoping to raise £12,000 to help her avoid a potential 18-month wait on the NHS and undergo a private operation.
Men’s first-team captain Luke Coulson led a whip-round among the squad and management at training on Thursday night with more than £330 raised towards the fund.
“We care about everyone in the club and we wish Gemma a speedy recovery,” said Dartford boss Alan Dowson.
“We’re all in this together as a club and it’s important that we all stick together at times like this.
“If we can help in any way then we will, and I think what Luke and the players have done is fantastic.
“The women are having a great run in the FA Cup and we all wish them well in the next round.”
A gofundme page has been set up by Dartford Women to raise funds for Shepherd, with nearly £5,000 donated of their £12,000 target.
The page says: “It is important to note that injuries like these are becoming increasingly common in women's football and there's still not enough research and support around it. With this in mind, we are seeking financial support to help Gemma undergo a private operation. The waiting time on the NHS for such procedures can be as long as 18 months.
“Gemma is massively dedicated to her work at a school, where she is committed to supporting the young people she works with. However, her ability and mobility are essential requirements in her line of work.
“Prior to her injury, Gemma held the position as our leading goal scorer. A dedicated player on the pitch and a beloved friend off the pitch. It is crucial for us to have her back as soon as possible.
“Therefore, we kindly request the support of all Dartford fans in this endeavour, as their contribution would be greatly appreciated.”
A total of £216 was also donated at Dartford’s Women’s FA Cup First Round game against Abingdon United.
Dartford have been drawn away to Oxford United in the Second Round on Sunday, November 26.
To donate to Shepherd’s gofundme page, click here