fORMER England cricket captain Michael Vaughan visited Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital to announce his latest fundraising adventure - trekking the Great Wall of China.
Michael, who is a patron of the Children’s Hospital Charity, will be taking on the epic challenge with his wife Nichola and family and friends raising money to fund a piece of pioneering surgical equipment which will keep the facility at the forefront of paediatric neurosurgery in the country.
The £250,000 Integrated Intra-operative Surgical Navigation System will be used in brain, spinal, and ear, nose and throat surgery and creates precise 3D images that help surgeons map the safest, least invasive path to the operation site.
The advanced equipment can also shorten operating times, improve accuracy and decrease the size of surgical incisions - all of which can lead to better outcomes and faster recoveries.
The hospital would also become the only training centre in England teaching others how to use the equipment.
Michael, who visited patients on the neurosciences ward yesterday, said: “I am really excited about taking on the Great Wall of China Trek and to be supporting one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals.
“Having met some of the bravest, most courageous children I know at the hospital I am really motivated to raise as much money as possible through this
“As a dad, I have also seen first hand the amazing work of the dedicated staff at the hospital when my son needed treatment for a chest infection. To know I have this very special hospital on my doorstep if my kids ever need it again is extremely reassuring and also another reason I am keen to support its work.”
Lauren Raybould from Chesterfield is the type of patient the new equipment will help.
The 11-year-old Danesmoor schoolgirl was diagnosed with an aneurysmal bone cyst on her skull in February and spent 11 hours in surgery to remove the life-threatening growth which was putting pressure on her brain.
Her mum Rachel said: “When the doctors told us that they would need to operate the following day it was a massive shock but the staff that looked after us that night were absolutely fantastic.
“They explained everything to us and treated Lauren like she was one of their own, it was so reassuring.
“All three of the hospital’s neurosurgeons worked on our daughter and although it was awful having to wait such a long time to see Lauren we knew she was in the very best hands.
“Afterwards the surgeons told us the operation had gone very well and they had removed the cyst but it was like nothing they had ever seen before.”
Lauren spent eight days in hospital following the surgery and now returns every six months to ensure the cyst hasn’t grown. She is doing well and is back at school.
Rachel added: “I think it is wonderful that Michael Vaughan and his family are taking on the China Trek to help raise cash for this new surgery equipment.”
John McMullan, consultant neurosurgeon at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “To be able to use this pioneering technology on our patients will be absolutely fantastic. The benefits for the patient are vast.”
Michael and his team set off on their seven-day challenge on Saturday September 17.
Visit www.justgiving.com/m-p-vaughan to sponsor him or call the charity office on 0114 2717203.