FOOTBALLER Jordan Henderson's family has launched an appeal to help repay the NHS team which saved his dad's life after his cancer diagnosis.

The England and Liverpool star's dad, Brian, was treated by Sunderland Royal Hospital in 2014 after the disease was found in his tongue, throat and lymph glands.

Now, property company boss Brian, and his wife Donna, from Washington, are leading a campaign to raise £85,000 to buy a high-end endoscopy called a ‘Spectar EndoFlex System’.

Using a small probe placed through the nose, it records footage captured during assessments.

The film can then be reviewed frame-by-frame to check for abnormalities – helping diagnose cancer and check up on previous sites – and assess a patient’s ability to swallow, with the kit a higher spec than the fiberscopes already used.

The new equipment will be used by the specialist clinical team including doctors, nurses and speech and language therapists based within the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

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In January 2021, Liverpool FC captain and European Championship star Jordan, who began his footballing career in Sunderland, was named as the first NHS Charities Together Champion and is an ambassador as it raises cash for more than 240 NHS funds, supporting staff, volunteers and patients.

Mr and Mrs Henderson have set up their own JustGiving page to collect for their local South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, with more than £16,000 raised so far.

Mrs Henderson plans to make a 10,000ft tandem skydive at Shotton Airfield in County Durham this Sunday for the fund.

The Northern Echo:

A replica Champions League strip, signed by Jordan Henderson, and another worn during the Liverpool V Spurs game

Meanwhile Mr Henderson, with Jordan’s support, is auctioning off strips worn by the midfielder through fans’ groups, with £6,000 already raised through one he had on during Liverpool’s Champions League victory over Barcelona in May 2019.

Another worn during the side’s 2-1 win over Spurs last year at Anfield raised £1,250, while one will be put up for grabs from Liverpool’s derby against Everton in October last year, when Jordan’s goal was disallowed and ended the game in a 2-2 scoreline.

The Jamie Carragher 23 Foundation has also boosted the fund with a £3,500 donation, while a Sunderland primary school has added £113 to the appeal.

Grandfather-of-five Mr Henderson’s care was led by consultant otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon, Mr Frank Stafford.

The 66-year-old, who still undergoes regular checks, said: “We just want to repay the people who treated me and we want to raise it ourselves.

“Donna had a parachute jump on her bucket list and when we decided we wanted to raise money, we thought that would be a good way to help.

“We want to get in as much as we can for to thank the ENT department for what they have done for me and to really help other people coming in with what I had and other conditions.

“The new equipment is state-of-the-art and will really benefit many patients in the future by helping to diagnose them as quickly as possible.

“I know that 100 per cent I would not be here if it was not for the specialist team in Sunderland and my wife.”

Mrs Henderson added: “The reason for the jump is to give back a little bit of thanks to the ENT department.

“The staff were absolutely instrumental in seeing Brian through his care and aftercare and without them I don’t think I would have got through it either.”

The Northern Echo:

Consultant Otolaryngologist and Head and Neck Surgeon, Mr Frank Stafford, Donna and Brian Henderson and Laura-Jayne Watson, Senior Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Mr Stafford said: “Brian is a great guy and, understandably, the fundraising work by him and Donna has been delayed by Covid.

"It is our absolute privilege to care for every single patient who needs our help but we know Brian has been keen to repay us in whatever way he can. We are of course extremely grateful for his support.

“Technology advances so quickly in healthcare and whilst we do already have fiberscopes, this new equipment will be much more accurate.

“It has excellent, high quality imaging, which is so important when recording any abnormalities and for monitoring any changes.”

Laura-Jayne Watson, senior specialist speech and language therapist, said: “This piece of equipment would make a significant difference to our head and neck cancer patients at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“We would be able to provide our patients with timelier and more individualised swallow and voice assessment and intervention which would help to improve functional outcomes and quality of life.”

The JustGiving page for the appeal can be found here

Brian Henderson is sharing details of the strips being auctioned off via his Instagram account, which can be found via @daddyhendo14


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