FOOTBALL legend Alan Shearer brought a smile to sick children’s faces as he was announced as patron for the North East children’s heart unit.
The former Newcastle United striker has agreed to give his backing to the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (Chuf) at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
To celebrate the announcement, Shearer visited children at the unit to see the outstanding work being done to save youngsters’ lives.
“I would not say it is a good cause to support, it’s a great cause to support,” he said. “It is great to be able to help in any way that I can”.
He added: “I feel hugely honoured to have been appointed as a patron of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund.
“I am extremely proud of the North East and to have a unit of this calibre serving both the region and the UK is a credit to our medical profession and talented medical professionals within.”
The Children’s Heart Unit is the only unit in the UK able to offer all forms of heart treatment, including transplantation. It is hoped that, with Shearer’s support, the profile of Chuf will be increased so funds can be raised to assist the building of new accommodation for the parents of children who are being treated on the ward.
Two new beds are also needed now and it costs £100,000 to equip just one bed.
Parents Claire and Dom Muse, of West Allotment, North Tyneside, were delighted to meet Shearer. The couple’s five-month-old daughter Jessica was born with a rare congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle of her heart was severely underdeveloped. She also has a serious lung condition.
The baby has had nine operations, including two open hear procedures, and has spent all her short life in the children’s heart unit.
Mother-of-one Claire, 31, a computer technician, said: “It was great to meet Alan Shearer and it’s good that he has become patron of Chuf. It’s really important that people support the children’s heart unit. The staff here are amazing and we will be forever grateful for what they’ve done for Jessica.”
Dr Richard Kirk, consultant paediatric cardiologist at the Freeman, said: “We are delighted that Alan Shearer has agreed to be the patron of Chuf and highlight the charity as a whole.”