Gloucester’s Ed Slater has thanked fans for their support after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
A JustGiving page was set up following the announcement and within hours smashed the initial target of £20,000.
It currently stands at well over £40,000 as donations continue to pour in, while supporters of all clubs have taken to social media to offer their support for Slater.
Hope is not lost
“I want to say Thank You to everyone for all your messages of support and generosity,” Slater said on Twitter. “It gives me and my family a huge amount of strength in a time of sadness for us.
“I will meet this challenge head-on. Ultimately I can’t win but I will fight with everything. Hope is not lost.
“I also want to add a thank you to @JillADouglas and @MNDoddie5 who have been a huge support. I’d also like to thank @mndassoc.
“Both are working to fight this disease for me and all my fellow battlers of MND as well as our loved ones.”
Gloucester thanked the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which was set up by former Scotland lock Doddie Weir following his MND diagnosis.
The foundation’s work
The charity seeks to find a cure for MND and to also offer support for those that are suffering from the disease.
“Following six months of testing, Ed’s diagnosis was confirmed last week, and as a result, with the support of his family, friends and Gloucester Rugby, he has made the difficult decision to retire from professional rugby with immediate effect,” Gloucester said in a statement on Thursday.
“Everyone at Gloucester Rugby – players, management and staff – are entirely committed to supporting Ed, his wife Jo and his three children in whatever way required.
“We know the same will be true of Gloucester and Leicester fans, and the wider rugby community.”