Lizzie Jones, the widow of ex Halifax RLFC star Danny Jones, has launched a new campaign to raise money for potentially life-saving equipment for Rugby League clubs across the UK.
The brave mum-of-two, who reduced a Wembley crowd to tears and moved millions more with an emotional performance at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, is spearheading the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund, named in honour of her late husband.
Danny Jones, a Keighley Cougars and Wales international half-back, collapsed and died from an undiagnosed heart condition while playing against London Skolars last May.
Following his tragic death, Lizzie successfully campaigned for cardiac screening to become mandatory at every Kingstone Press Championship and League 1 club, as it already is in the First Utility Super League.
Now, Lizzie has joined forces with the RFL Benevolent Fund to raise money to create a fund that will provide assistance to hundreds of community clubs and junior teams across the country to purchase a defibrillator.
Defibrillators cost around £1,000 each and provide potentially life-saving treatment to anyone suffering a heart attack.
Lizzie said: “This is my way of saying a big ‘thank you’ to the wider Rugby League family for all they have done for me and my children since we lost Danny.
“The professional and semi-professional players are now getting screened, which is fantastic, and it’s important that we do all we can to protect the welfare of the men, women and children who gain so much pleasure from playing the game at community level.
“£1,000 doesn’t seem like a lot of money but as anyone who’s been involved with grassroots sport will know, every penny matters and I am proud to be associated with another project which means Danny’s death will not have been in vain.”
To kick off the fund, Lizzie made a personal donation of £1,000 and she hopes that more will be added in the weeks and months ahead.
The campaign has set a fund-raising target of £50,000. To make a donation please visit www.rflbenevolentfund.co.uk or visit www.justgiving.com/danny-jones-defibrillator-fund