Sunderland’s Danny Graham steps up to help fifth-tier footballer afford potentially career-saving surgery


Danny Graham’s goal against Everton on May 9 may’ve saved Sunderland’s Premier League status, and the veteran Premier League forward wasn’t done helping the Northeast England soccer community.

Graham, 29, has stepped up big time to help a player for Gateshead in England’s fifth tier.

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The player’s name is JJ O’Donnell and he has a pretty big problem and some pretty loyal young fans. O’Donnell, 23, is suffering from sesamoidtis, a disease that causes intense pain whenever he puts pressure on his feet. This, unsurprisingly, threatened his career as a footballer.

The surgery to fix sesamoidtis is rare and far from a sure thing. According to the Chronicle, it’s only been attempted on a pair of American football players and only cured one of them. It was going to cost $8,000, and O’Donnell didn’t have that kind of dough.

So a pair of young Gateshead fans — Lee Calder, 16, and Sam Jupp, 13 — stepped up to help him with a Go Fund Me page, and Graham applied the finishing touch.

Class move, Graham, and good on the fans. Now let’s hope the good charity gives some sort of good momentum to the surgery. Cheers, JJ.