THE father of England football star Jordan Henderson has told of the cancer battle he kept secret from his son.
As the Premier League season kicked off, Brian Henderson revealed his cancer was diagnosed before Christmas – but he and his wife delayed telling former Black Cat Jordan and the rest of their family.
As his surgery grew closer, Mr Henderson, 59, told the midfield ace about the illness and spoke to his boss at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, about his ordeal.
The illness meant Mr Henderson was also unable to travel to Brazil to see Jordan play in the World Cup in June, but he spoke to him daily.
Now, after successful treatment, Mr Henderson will speak at a conference for cancer survivors about his experience and how important it is to talk about it.
He said: “It was a very emotional time when I had to break the news to the family. I went to speak to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, who was very understanding. He gave Jordan time off, and the people at Liverpool were amazing.
“They were very understanding and gave him a lot of support. I said to Jordan that the best thing he could do for me when he got back to playing was try to get man of the match in every game.
“He got it in four of the next five he played. People didn’t realise the pressure he was under. I was so proud of him.”
Mr Henderson, who lives in Washington, has had radiotherapy and surgery to remove lymph nodes in both sides of his neck and a tumour from his tongue.
Mr Henderson and his wife Donna, a 40-year-old self-employed social worker, held off telling Jordan, 24, and Donna’s son Kyle Cunningham, 22, to try to stop the news ruining their Christmas.
He was still recovering from his treatment when the World Cup started.
He said: “Jordan was really looking forward to the tournament and was buzzing about it. That helped me through, I knew it could change his life. He was disappointed by the outcome but it was an experience for him.”
Brian will speak at a conference for the survivors of head and neck cancers at the Stadium of Light next month.
The conference which will feature about 20 stalls, and a question and answer session, will run from 10.30am to 6pm on Wednesday, September 24.