Jack Wilshere meets GOSH's young patients and backs our Give to GOSH appeal

England football star Jack Wilshere has become the latest celebrity to back our Give to GOSH appeal after visiting patients in the hospital. During his visit, Wilshere went head-to-head in a game of finger football with a patient and explained why he's endorsing our appeal.

The Arsenal and England midfielder met children being treated for neurological conditions such as epilepsy, brain tumours and strokes at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Backing our Give to GOSH appeal, he said: “It’s a great way to remind people why it’s so important to keep raising money to help more children and find more treatments to help generations to come.”

The father of two added: “As soon as I became a dad I really knew what it felt like to love someone unconditionally. You worry about your children constantly and you realise how precious they are. No one would want their child to be unwell so if I can help put a smile on their faces it’s the least I can do.

“My son loves superheroes and if he thought a superhero would visit him it would make him happy. People love football so it’s great to see the kids’ reactions. I like it when they ask me questions or give me stick. It’s great to see their personalities.”

During the visit he met his match in seven-year-old Chloe, who challenged him to a game of finger football. Chloe, from Whitstable in Kent, was just as competitive as the soccer professional, and the game finished in a 4-4 draw.

Chloe has neurocutaneous melanosis (NCM), a rare congenital neurological disorder which affects the central nervous system. It causes moles to grow over her body, including lesions on her brain which trigger epilepsy.

Chloe plays football at school and told Wilshere about her soccer skills. The pair met in the telemetry room, which has equipment to monitor brain activity and help to pinpoint the area that is causing seizures.

During his visit, Wilshere also chatted with 10-year-old Josh from Bournemouth, who is recovering from surgery to stop a bleed on his brain, caused by a tumour he has had since birth. Southampton fan Josh asked Wilshere when was the last time he scored a goal - the answer was in June, for England against Slovenia - helping secure England a 3–2 victory.

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Adapted from an article originally published in The Independent on 19 January 2016.

Photo credit: Alex Lentati