Published on: 29 March 2023
Jordan Henderson’s dad, Brian is celebrating a victory after the international footballing community helped him and wife Donna buy cutting edge kit to diagnose cancer and more.
The 68-year-old businessman has seen the £79,000 they raised being put to use as he visited the hospital team who saved his own life.
The donation has been used to purchase a Xion Flexible Nose Endoscopy Kit, which will treat thousands of patients just like him.
Its super-fine camera can beam back detailed footage. This can be recorded and reviewed later to look for tumours.
It will also play a key role in helping patients recover. It can assess their voice and swallowing and can be used in planned therapy sessions.
The portable equipment is in use every day and also boosts the hospital’s capacity to see more patients, allowing it to see another 35 people a week.
Brian Henderson with Consultant Frank Stafford and Laura-Jayne Watson, Clinical Lead for SALT, and the scope Brian and wife Donna fundraised to buy.
The Henderson’s set up the campaign after Brian’s own cancer experience.
His diagnosis came in 2014, when the disease was found in his tongue, throat and lymph glands and he was cared for at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
He still undergoes checks to ensure it has not returned and has since been treated for skin cancer. He credits his wife Donna with supporting him every step of the way during his recovery.
It was the couple’s drive to help others which sparked them to launch their own £85,000 fundraising efforts.
The STS Charity, run by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, was able to buy the scope at a reduced rate and help the Henderson’s hit their target even sooner.
Donna’s 15,000ft skydiving challenge within days of the campaign launch boosted the funds by more than £15,000.
Donna Henderson as she made the leap to raise money for the NHS.
Jordan also gifted the shirts he wore as Liverpool FC beat Manchester United 5-0 in October 2021 and as his side beat Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield during their 2019 Champion’s League clash.
Brian and Jordan Henderson with the shirt the player wore in Liverpool's victory against Barcelona in the Champions League Final in 2019.
The hospital’s Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) teams are exceptionally grateful to Brian and Donna and welcomed the grandad back into the clinic to see how it works.
"We are absolutely delighted that it is now making a difference. I’ve had these types of tests myself and I know that this will make it a much better experience for other patients.
"Liverpool FC helped us spread the word about the fundraising around the world. We know we had people from Australia, America, New Zealand and Qatar who donated money by buying raffle tickets for the shirts. We also know people here in the North East and particularly Sunderland, helped us reach our target.
"We’re grateful to the media and Sunderland AFC, who helped get our message out there and helped us raise this money – it was a team effort."
England star and former Sunderland midfielder, Jordan was named the first NHS Charities Together Champion in 2021 and has helped raise money for its causes.
The club skipper was awarded the MBE in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to football and to charity, particularly during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
"It could have been easy to ask Jordan if he and other players could help, but it was important to me that we raised the money," Brian added.
"Jordan and all our family were delighted we did it and that we managed ourselves. We can’t forget that Jordan himself has also raised millions for the NHS."
Laura-Jayne Watson, Clinical Lead for SALT at the Trust, said:
"This piece of kit helps us carry out a quick assessment which can then lead to faster treatment for our patients.
"It also connects up to our IT system, so other people can see and review the footage as well. It’s a fantastic piece of technology to add to what we already had.
"We are extremely grateful to Brian and Donna for their generous donation. It will make a huge difference to the service we provide and to the patients we see."
Frank Stafford, Brian’s consultant, has forged a firm friendship with Brian and Donna following his treatment and helped support the funding work.
"Brian is an incredible role model for patients who are facing treatment for cancer, his positive attitude to dealing with the disease and recovering from the rigours of surgery and chemoradiotherapy has been inspirational for us all.
"We are very grateful that, with Donna, he has mobilised the generosity of the people of Sunderland to provide equipment for the Speech and Swallowing therapists to improve their ability to help patients recover more effectively and monitor those still at risk of recurrence of head and neck cancer.
"It is also great that our colleagues are getting some recognition. Successful treatment for head neck cancer depends upon a huge team of specialists to achieve not only cancer cure but rehabilitation and return to a normal happy life."
More details about the STS Charity can be found by clicking here.