German Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98 have renamed their home stadium in memory of a young supporter that died in March.
Jonathan Heimes, aged 26, raised hundreds of euros for charity before he died of cancer on the 8th of March. An agreement was reached with ground sponsors Merck. The Merck-Stadion am Boellenfalltor will be known as the Jonathan-Heimes Stadion am Boellenfalltor for the 2016-17 Bundesliga season.
The move is also set up to help the non-profit organisation ‘Du Musst Kampfen’ which serves children suffering with cancer. Merck also invested in a new tram to run through the city from Tuesday with the message: ‘Thank You, Johnny’
SV Darmstadt renames stadium after cancer victim
“It is a motivational tool for us, we want to remain in the league again and this connection with Johnny will give us an additional push. Everyone who identifies with us identifies with Jonathan” said Darmstadt captain Aytac Sulu. Darmstadt played in the third division of German football up until 2014. Since then its been back to back promotions for the club who finished 14th in the Bundesliga last season.
“Jonathan was a strong companion of Darmstadt success,” said club president Rudiger Fritsch. “Despite his illness, Jonathan has repeatedly given the team a lot of energy”. Heimes’ father Martin said the club and its sponsors had made a “great gesture” in naming the stadium of the club he loved and supported so much after his son. Darmstadt shirt sponsor Software AG also agreed to have its name replaced by ‘Du Musst Kampfen’ for one game.
SV Darmstadt’s first game at their newly named ground is Saturday’s Bundesliga game against Eintracht Franfurt.