A Scottish football legend who dedicated himself to cancer causes following the death of his daughter has helped provide funding for live saving devices at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).
Willie Henderson was at the hospital on Monday to celebrate the arrival of two ZedScan machines, which use innovative technology to detect cell abnormalities in the cervix and drastically reduce the time taken to diagnose cervical cancer in women.
The machines were bought with money from the Michelle Henderson Trust, established by Michelle before she died from cervical cancer, aged just 28.
Mr Henderson hopes the charity will now be able to raise awareness and funds towards hospital equipment and support for anyone diagnosed with cervical cancer in the north-east.
He said: “I had met with Stewart Milne, chairman of Aberdeen Football Club, and on my way home I suddenly said to myself ‘Why not do something in Aberdeen?’ as the trust aleady works in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.
“I spoke to the gynaecology department at ARI to see what the trust could do for them and they thought the ZedScan machines would be the best way to help women with this horrible illness.”
With the machines delivered yesterday, staff at the hospital will undergo training so the machines can be used as soon as possible.
When scanning women, the devices fire an electric signal into cervical tissue to detect the health of the cells inside.
The signal will bounce off the cells quickly if the cervix is healthy but if damaged, the signal will go through the cell and send back vital information to doctors.
Professor Maggie Cruickshank, director of NHS Grampian research and development, said: “We were looking for something that would make a genuine difference to the people in Grampian.
“The machines will save lives and will benefit patients from across the north of Scotland.
“In Aberdeen we have patients travelling from as far as Orkney and Shetland. With the new machines we will be able to detect women who need treatment earlier.
“Equally, women who don’t need treatment can be discharged more swiftly, reducing the amount of times patients would have to travel.”
Mr Henderson hopes that the new machines will help save lives across the north-east and Highlands.
He said: “Providing these machines is an example of something Michelle would have done.
“Michelle was a very go-getting person all through her life. She was a good athlete and she graduated from university with great grades.
“Her mother and I are still very proud of her.
“I’m sure she would be very pleased at what we’ve done at ARI.”