Crystal Palace supports fundraiser for Hartlepool boss’ wife as she battles inoperable brain tumour

Crystal Palace are encouraging their fans to donate to a fundraiser for Hartlepool manager Graeme Lee’s wife, who has an inoperable brain tumour, ahead of the first meeting between the two sides since 2004.

Premier League Crystal Palace will take on League Two Hartlepool at Selhurst Park on Saturday, with Lee’s wife Gemma, there to watch.

The mother of two was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma in January 2019 and given just 12 months to live.

She continues to defy the inoperable brain tumour with the help of trial medication from Germany, but the treatment costs £5,000 a month.

A fundraiser set up by her friend Beth Badman two months ago hopes to ease the family's financial burden as Gemma, 41, continues to work to raise awareness and funds.

Some 4,700 Pool fans will head to south London to watch their club try and reach the fifth round of the competition for the first time.

Graeme Lee, who launched his playing career at Hartlepool, is also helping his dad through dementia.

On Friday, north-east neighbours Middlesbrough ran out in front of 9,500 travelling fans at Manchester United, three of whom planned to walk the 106 miles from the Riverside Stadium to Old Trafford to raise money to help the MFC Foundation create a Dementia Hub on Teesside.

Former Sheffield Wednesday, Doncaster, Bradford and Notts County defender Lee, whose father is a respected former Northern League manager, said the efforts were "massively appreciated".

"I know for for my wife and my dad at the moment, anything anyone is willing to do and step up…

"I’ve had so many people since my wife (was diagnosed) step up, people who you don’t even know who come forward and help and want to help, and they don’t realise how much that helps families and people who are suffering, so anything like that, well played to them and fantastic."

A target of £60,000 has been set on the fundraising page to help the family pay for 12 months of treatment.