Sun | Jan 20, 2019

A Royal request - GoFundMe page for paralysed FIFA referee targets US$5,000

Published:Tuesday | May 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp/Gleaner Writer
Match official Keeble Williams (center) and his colleagues in dialogue at half time as they prepare for the second half of a Red Stripe Premier League game between Tivoli Gardens FC and Waterhouse FC at the Edward Seaga Complex last season.

Referee Keeble Williams - a close friend of former FIFA referee Dwight Royal, who was paralysed from the neck down in a motor vehicle accident last November - is urging persons to contribute to a GoFundMe page on the Internet.

"After the accident last November, myself and some other people from overseas got together and started a GoFundMe page on social media in order to raise money to offset his medical expenses," Williams, who initiated the page, told The Gleaner yesterday.

"He (Royal) met in a car accident in St Elizabeth, close to his school gate (St Elizabeth Technical High), where he is a physical education teacher. He was injured from the neck down," Williams said.

"Now he is going through rehabilitation at Mona Rehab (Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre) and the University Hospital of the West Indies. Our aim is to raise funds for him. We need the page to be highlighted in order for it to move more quickly," the referee said about the fundraiser for his colleague.

"The idea is to raise the money for his medical bills in case he needs treatment in Cuba, or any other country. He had a serious injury, so he is going through pain. His spirit is good, as I have paid him regular visits. His mind is okay, and if you talk to him, you would not know that he was involved in an accident," Williams shared.

"The page is slowly gathering momentum. We have about US$1,500 (around J$185,000) already, and the target is US$5,000 (close to J$618,000). We are trying to get to the target as soon as possible," Williams added.

"He is somebody that I have worked alongside in tournaments overseas, as well as in local competitions. Dwight is a gentle giant and a Christian whom I have never had anything bad to say about. It touched me in a special way," he said about his decision to assist.

"People from overseas who have worked with him have come down to visit and that has done well for his spirit. An international referee came down just to see him, so he is getting support."

GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that allows persons to raise money for events ranging from life events such as celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances like accidents and illnesses.