Chris Neal, goalkeeper for National League promotion chasers AFC Fylde, wants to boost finances for the neo-natal unit at Arrow Park Hospital on The Wirral, Merseyside, the nearby Claire House Children’s Hospice and Ronald McDonald House after he and his partner Emma lost baby Zachary in tragic circumstances.
Zachary was born prematurely in December and was placed into intensive care, where he spent months fighting for his life with Chris and Emma by his side every day.
Despite his best efforts and those of the neonatal staff at Arrowe Park, Zachary died last month.
Chris, who formerly played for Fleetwood Town, says the neonatal Unit at Arrowe Park is in desperate need of a new unit, and he and Emma are eager to help with that target.
Claire House provided a range of support to Chris and Emma while the Ronald McDonald house charity provided the family with accommodation so they could be as close as possible to Zachary without the need to leave the hospital.
Chris, who is based in Cheshire, said: “We would like to honour Zachary’s memory, and feel that raising as much money as we can for our chosen charities and neonatal unit will help to do this."We are so grateful to anyone who does donate - it means the world to both Emma and I, and of course Zachary.”
The appeal is being supported by AFC Fylde and a spokesman for the club said: “All our thoughts are with Emma, Chris and family at this incredibly difficult time, and may Zach now rest in peace.
"The two charities and the neonatal unit deserve every single penny that is donated for the magnificent work they carry out daily, and for the support they have provided to the Neal family during this time.
"No matter how big or small, every single penny is hugely appreciated.”
Details of how to donate to the appeal in memory of Zachary are at Chris and Emma’s GoFundMe page.