Football legend Willie Henderson has raised a staggering £325,000 for patients and families facing cervical cancer at five Scottish hospitals – including two in Edinburgh.
The Michelle Henderson Cervical Cancer Trust was set up by Willie’s daughter Michelle, who passed away after a long battle with cervical cancer at the age of 28, and Willie vowed to continue her work.
For his 75th birthday in January, the former Rangers and Scottish international trekked a gruelling 100 miles across the Sahara Desert to further raise funds and awareness for cervical cancer.
Willie and 11 friends trained regularly for the five-day trek and between them they raised an incredible £40,000 from the challenge.
All the money raised will go towards buying hospital equipment and medicines and creating support groups for women who are facing cervical cancer.
Willie said: “I am so proud of my daughter for setting up this charity and seeing how far it has come.
“We have managed to raise an incredible amount of money, which is making a real difference to women and their families affected by cervical cancer.
“One of the things I’ve noticed when speaking to women about this, is the embarrassment they feel at the thought of going for cervical cancer screening. What I say is, embarrassment won’t kill you, cervical cancer will! That’s the knock-out punch. It’s important to get checked.”
Willie and his wife Veronica are clear in the fact that it’s thanks to so many people that the trust has been able to reach this milestone.
They added: “We couldn’t have raised this magnificent total without the dedication and generosity of our supporters. We are so grateful to you all, and we know Michelle would be too.”
Funds from the Michelle Henderson Cervical Cancer Trust have already benefited five hospitals in Scotland, including the Western General and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, as well as one hospital in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, where cervical cancer is named as one of the country’s biggest killers.
Two hospitals in England are also in the process of receiving some funding from the trust.
Michelle was diagnosed with cervical cancer in October 2010 and fought the disease for two years before passing away on 1st October 2012, her 28th birthday.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer amongst women aged 35 and under in the UK.
Three women die every day in the UK from cervical cancer and each year around 2,800 are newly diagnosed with the disease.
Around 300,000 women a year are told they may have a cervical abnormality that might require treatment.