It might be derby day at Spotland on Saturday but Latics boss Lee Johnson has put rivalry to one side in the name of charity by adding his support to Rochdale AFC’s Brandon’s Beard campaign.
The fundraiser was first launched last November and saw Dale management, players, staff and fans alike growing their beards during the month to help buy a special therapeutic bed to help ease the pain and discomfort suffered by Brandon Beech, who has Cystic Fibrosis.
Since last year’s campaign, 11-year-old Brandon, who is the son of Dale assistant manager Chris Beech, has had a liver transplant. He underwent a 10 hour operation in April and spent three days in intensive care, before moving into isolation for three weeks.
Despite undergoing this major operation and continuing to deal with Cystic Fibrosis on a daily basis, Brandon continues to be a very brave and resilient young man. Less than three months after the operation, he competed in the Children’s Transplant Games and has not missed a Dale home game this season.
After last year's successful campaign, during which enough money was raised to buy the bed, Dale have kept the legacy going everyone at the club again joining forces to grow their beards this November. The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation is benefitting from any money raised this time round.
Ahead of Saturday’s local derby, Johnson, his players and staff have pledged their support, and are asking fans to do the same.
Chris Beech commented: "The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation supports families, patients and donor families. The work they do is exceptional and we’ve experienced that first hand.
"I can’t thank Lee and Oldham Athletic enough for getting behind the campaign. It’s fundraisers like this that brings the footballing family together and if there can be an off spin where we are lucky to help others then it can only be a positive.
"I hope the Oldham fans, as well and our own fans, help to raise awareness of, and raise some real good funds for the charity over the weekend. If every supporter who attends Saturday’s game donates £1 then it will make massive difference."
Dale have set up a JustGiving Page where you can donate.