"Becoming a patron is something I'm incredibly proud to do"

Esme Morgan has the world at her feet. At only 19 years of age, she has already captained her country, earned a move to Manchester City and is playing regularly in the F.A. Women’s Super League.

And when the opportunity came along to support Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in her hometown, Esme quickly signed up to become a patron for The Children’s Hospital Charity.

As she takes on her new charity role, Esme reflects on the role Sheffield Children’s has played in her young career so far:

“I came from a normal family, my love of football started in the back garden with my brother and dad” Esme, who is currently on loan at Everton from Manchester City explains.

“For as long as I can remember, I know all I’ve wanted to be is a footballer, but I only recognised it could be possible in the women’s game over the past few years.”

Two childhood injuries would temporarily put that dream in doubt, as Esme broke first her foot and then her collarbone playing sport at school.

“I went to the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. It’s probably no surprise that my biggest worry was not being able to play football, but I remember how kind and caring the staff were and how they looked after me.

“They were so reassuring in telling me I would be back to playing soon; it would heal, and I would be able to play with my friends again. I’m the kind of person who asks lots of questions even when I was younger, and I’ll never forget how patient and clear the staff were in giving me advice. It really was invaluable.”

Esme has gone on to enjoy a hugely impressive start to her career, making 10 appearances for Manchester City last season as they won the WSL Cup and FA Women’s Cup. She joined Everton on loan for the 19/20 season and has so far made 15 appearances.

Esme has also represented her country in several age groups, including captaining England U19s at the UEFA European Championships in Scotland.

“It’s a huge honour to be able to captain your country, to sing the national anthem with your teammates and see your family watching on in the stands. I get goose-bumps every time, it’s an amazing feeling. But an important part of any leadership role is looking out for others and helping to make sure they’re okay.

“That’s why helping Sheffield Children’s is really close to home for me. I’ve received the benefits of their care myself and I care a lot about making sure as many as possible have the great experience I did. I know how lucky I am to live my dream and do my hobby as a job. The least I can do is help others fulfil their goals.”

One of only three dedicated children’s hospital trusts in the UK, Sheffield Children’s Hospital sees more than 276,000 patients every year from across the country and around the world.

Home to a range of world-leading clinicians in care and research, alongside some of the best medical and surgical services available to children, demand for its services continues to grow every year.

Esme will support The Children’s Hospital Charity’s upcoming fundraising efforts to transform the facilities at Sheffield Children’s Hospital through their Building a Better Future appeal. It aims to raise £14.25m to build a new Emergency Department, on-site Helipad and transform the Cancer and Leukaemia ward.

Esme continued: “Becoming a patron is something I am incredibly proud to do. Adding those new facilities to Sheffield Children’s, a place which is already leading the way in so many ways in paediatric care with amazing work, is vital.

“It’s also even more important right now that we do all we can to support The Children’s Hospital Charity, with all the events which have had to be put on hold due to the coronavirus. Times are tough, but they need our support more than ever.”

Director of The Children’s Hospital Charity, David Vernon-Edwards, added: “We are delighted that Esme, one of England’s brightest young sports stars is joining as a patron.

“It’s really moving that the care Esme received at Sheffield Children’s has made such a lasting impression on her and we’re really grateful for her support at this difficult time. We look forward to working with Esme in the years to come to change even more lives.”

If you would like to make a donation to support the patients and staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital at this unprecedented time, text SHEFFCHILDRENS to 70085 to donate £5. This costs £5 plus your standard message rate.