Non-League football club Shaw Lane AFC have now passed the £10,000 mark in their efforts to help save lives through the Dan Wilkinson Foundation.
The 26 year-old defender tragically lost his life after suddenly collapsing on the pitch during an Evo-Stik Doodson Cup match between Brighouse Town and Shaw Lane in September.
The Barnsley club’s chairman Craig Wood has spearheaded the fundraising through the Foundation, which will aim to help provide defibrillators for grassroots clubs, screening for all players, along with vital medical training for volunteers.
The club are confident this will play an important role in helping to stop a similar tragedy happening on a football pitch.
Shaw Lane Chairman Wood said: “If you can detect the condition that Dan had early doors by screening, then ultimately it will be worthwhile because we’ll be able to save lives.”
“We want to get the County FA, the FA and Premier League involved because it doesn’t discriminate and can effect anyone from a top flight professional to a young lad starting out, and we can hopefully make a difference and stop something like this ever happening again at any level.”
Wilkinson’s sudden death has touched people far beyond the non-league community and donations have been received from across the country, ranging from £5 to £1,500.
Over £3,000 was raised in the first 48 hours of the Foundation’s Just Giving page being set up, with the £10,000 mark now being passed on the way to the £50,000 target.
Wood added: “We want to initially raise £50,000, but although it’s a target that’s not the end. We want it to be a starting point.
“£50,00 will pay for 41 defibrillators and training for 10 people per club, which is great but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
“Every single penny raised helps and we’re just so thankful and grateful that people are taking note of what we’re trying to achieve her and supporting such a good cause.”
It was discovered that Wilkinson had Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) – the same un-detected condition that forced former Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba to suffer a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie whilst playing for Bolton Wanderers in 2012.
The England youth international lost a pulse for over 70 minutes before heroic efforts from an on-site doctor and the emergency services brought him back to life.
MP Mims Davies has raised the issue of health screenings in Parliament, and she is also campaigning for screening for all young people after a similar project in Italy saw an 89% drop in cardiac-related fatalities.