Wanderers are to stage a special charity match and black-tie dinner to help raise funds for the treatment of defender Gethin Jones’ mother Karen.
A former mid-wife who worked for the NHS for 30 years, Karen, 56, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in July.
With no current cure for MND – an illness that affects the brain and nervous system – the Jones family wants to pursue the best current care and leading course of treatment which is available only in the United States.
To help meet costs – and raise awareness of MND – the family launched a Just Giving appeal during the summer.
Jones’ Bolton team-mates – led by senior men Antoni Sarcevic and Eoin Doyle – and manager Ian Evatt have all rallied around to promote the cause.
And Wanderers are happy to be playing their part and supporting Gethin, dad Gareth, brother Dylan and sister Ela by hosting a fund-raising weekend in November and planning their own financial contribution.
Following Bolton’s League One fixture at home to Crewe Alexandra on Friday, 12 November, the club will stage a dinner in the Lion of Vienna Suite at the University of Bolton Stadium on the evening of Saturday, 13 November (from 7pm).
And on Sunday, 14 November, Wanderers’ first-team squad will take on a Wanderers All-Star XI (KO 1pm).
Jones has already felt the support of the Wanderers’ fans and is hoping for more of the same to help meet the family’s goals.
“It was unbelievable when we put the Just Giving Page up,” he said.
“No-one knew about it and within an hour fans found out and the support from the fans we’ve had has been incredible.
“I put a little Tweet out to thank the fans but to have something going ahead here at the club, which has been fantastic, along with the gaffer and all the lads, will be fantastic support for my mum.”
Jones – a former Wales’ U21 international – added: “Mum is staying strong and only has a positive mind-set
“We are just taking it day by day. She has her good moments and she has low moments.
“For me, football takes my mind off it a bit but I get my moments when I do break down when I go home.
“I just try and stay positive and everything people like (ex-GB rugby league international) Rob Burrows, Stephen Darby and others are doing to raise awareness of MND is something we want to do as well.
“We have got loads of things going on, like fund-raisers in Wales, just to raise awareness because it’s something that’s needed to get more research into MND. It’s something we’re desperate to look into.”
Jones helped Wanderers win promotion from League Two in his first season at the club after signing from Carlisle United in August, 2020 and has been an ever-present so far this term.
And the 25-year-old is being firmly backed in the family fight by his team-mates.
Club captain Sarcevic said: “When we were made aware of it we were devastated for Geth.
“When we got word there was a Just Giving page, me and Doyler spoke to the gaffer and thought it was a good idea to use the facilities the club’s got and the support it gets to try and raise as much money as we can for Gethin’s mum.
“It will be a good day for everyone to get involved and hopefully Geth can have a good day with his family and his mum and we can raise as much money as we can.”
Wanderers have pledged to aid the appeal fund with chairman Sharon Brittan eager for the club to help one of its own.
She said: “Like all supporters, staff and players, Gethin is a valued member of the Bolton Wanderers family and it is natural for us all to get behind this appeal to help his mum.
“We will do as much as we can to help the Jones family reach the best outcome for Karen.
“I know our wonderful supporters will also get behind Gethin, Karen and the rest of the family by making these two events over the weekend a success in raising vital funds and awareness for such an important and worthwhile cause.
“We will also continue to give Gethin the support he needs as a player and, along with his team-mates and the management staff, we will all be right behind him in his efforts on and off the pitch.”
The Jones’ appeal is aiming to raise a total of £250,000, with 25 per cent of the funds going to the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation in recognition of its work and the help and support given by former Bolton defender Darby – who also suffers from MND.
Further details of the charity match at the University of Bolton Stadium will follow but tickets priced £10 and £5 are now on sale via the club’s usual methods of sale.
Tables of 10 for the black-tie dinner will cost £750 or £75 per person and are bookable via the Bolton Whites Hotel sales team on 01204 673610 and firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, any club partner or supplier wishing to donate their services/products for the evening or anyone able to provide auction or raffle prizes should please make contact the same way.
Further details regarding the dinner will also follow in the coming weeks and anyone wishing to contribute to the appeal via Just Giving can do so HERE