Former Sheffield Wednesday player who lost daughter to cervical cancer donates colposcope to city hospital

left to right: Graeme Oliver, Deputy Operations Manager; Rachel Lyon, Nurse Colposcopist; Willie Henderson; Janet Bell, Senior Sister

A former Sheffield Wednesday player has donated new equipment to a city hospital, paid for by money raised by his late daughter’s charity.

Willie Henderson, who played for the Owls between 1972-74, visited the Jessop Wing Hospital to present a new colposcope, a device used to examine a woman’s cervix and detect possible cervical cancer.

Willie’s daughter, Michelle, died from cervical cancer in 2012 on her 28th birthday, and Willie is continuing the work of the Michelle Henderson Cervical Cancer Trust, which she established before she passed away.

£15,000 raised by the charity was used to pay for the colposcope, which features state of the art image capture technology that enables clinicians to better compare results of examinations and spot any abnormalities.

Willie, 75, has undertaken challenges including treks in the Sahara and Gobi deserts to raise money.

He said: “None of this is easy for me after what happened to Michelle, there is not a day in my life that is not tough, but I want to honour her legacy and I have not let her down.”

A Scottish international winger, Willie moved to Wednesday following 12 years at Glasgow Rangers. He said he wanted to make a donation to Sheffield because of the warm welcome he was given by the city and Wednesday fans.

“Sheffield was fantastic to me at what was a difficult time, having left Rangers after so long,” he said.

“The rapport I had with the fans could not have been better, and I have never forgotten what the Sheffield people did for me, it was two of the best years of my life. So I wanted to give something back.”

Jessops is the tenth hospital to receive a donation from Michelle’s Trust.

“I hope that ultimately it will save lives,” said Willie, who also emphasised the importance of women attending their cervical screening (smear test).

A colposcopy procedure is often undertaken following the detection of abnormal cells by a smear test.

“You hear that some ladies don’t attend because of embarrassment,” he said. “I always say that embarrassment can’t kill you, but cervical cancer can.”

Fiona Kew, Clinical Director for Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are extremely grateful to Willie for this donation. The image capture technology this colposcope features enables clinicians to compare the results of examinations even better than before.

“It is already installed and in use in clinic.”


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