Cancer patient praises Peter Kay for raising money for her treatment
Watch: Laura Nuttall appears on This Morning to talk about Peter Kay
A cancer patient who inspired Peter Kay to step back onto the stage has spoken out about the importance of his incredible gesture.
Phoenix Nights star Kay has largely been absent from the public eye since 2017, after he cancelled a year-long UK tour for ‘unforeseen family circumstances’.
But at the end of July, it was announced he would return for two live Q+As to raise money for family friend Laura Nuttall, who has been diagnosed with a terminal form of brain cancer.
Read more: Peter Kay announces BBC return after absence for personal reasons
Appearing on This Morning today alongside mum Nicola, Nuttall, 20, revealed how the money raised could help fund potentially life-saving treatment in Germany.
Explaining that her dad Mark used to work with Kay, Nuttall said Kay reached out to the family for a catch-up after hearing about her diagnosis in the local paper.
"Since Laura was ill we've been out to the pub with him twice and we don't talk about the fact that she's ill, we just laugh our heads off,” mum Nicola explained.
“He's just the best company."
Read more: Peter Kay makes rare TV appearance on BBC's coronavirus fundraiser
"I agree with what you said, laughter is the best medicine and Peter Kay can make anyone laugh hysterically,” added Nuttall.
Nuttall was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in October 2018, an aggressive brain cancer that is ‘always stage four’ and often means those afflicted only have 12-18 months to live.
Since then, she has had numerous treatments on the NHS in an effort to prolong her life, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but the radical new surgery in Germany could help her survive.
Initially planning a charity ball in their local area in order to raise money, Nicola reached out to Kay in the hope that he would attend, but instead was left gobsmacked with an even better offer.
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"He said, ‘well I could do that, or I could phone the Manchester Apollo and see what their availability is like?’” Nicola said.
Put together over the space of a couple of weeks, tickets for the event sold out within half an hour, with Kay fans desperate to see him back on stage.
The first show will happen on 7 August, just two weeks after the tickets went on sale.
Nicola said that his generosity has taken a “massive weight” off the huge bills racked up in order for her daughter to get the treatment.
Immunotherapy treatment is not available in the UK, but essentially works in the same way as a vaccine where part of the tumour is injected back into the body in order to teach it what to fight.
Explaining her first experience with the procedure, Nuttall said: “I got quite tired, but I would do anything to get this under control - so a bit of tiredness is fine.”
However, each vaccine is £27,000, with checkpoint inhibitors another £7,000, and the commute between the UK and Germany mounts up, and the family have to fund it all themselves.
Nicola Nuttall added, “We’re not just doing this for Laura’s treatment. She’s an ambassador for The Brain Tumour Charity and we want to help them – there’s a new drug research project coming out called Sativex – and we’re going to do everything we can to help fund that as well.
“Other families shouldn’t have to go through this. Not everyone has Peter Kay’s help and we need to help other people – we need to find a cure for everyone.”
The Brain Tumour Charity’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Gina Almond, said in a statement issued to Yahoo: “We are absolutely delighted for Laura that Peter Kay has shown such kindness in putting on two shows to help fund her glioblastoma treatment abroad."
“Laura is one of our inspirational Young Ambassadors who help us to raise awareness about brain tumours so we can improve early diagnosis and find new treatments faster. We are hugely grateful for the family’s support as we launch a world-first UK clinical trial to find out whether cannabis-based Sativex could help give precious extra time to live for people whose glioblastomas have grown back.
“Brain tumours remain the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK. Glioblastomas in particular are the most common and most aggressive form of brain tumour in adults, accounting for around 2,200 cases in England each year. With treatment options remaining limited, and average survival being around 12-18 months from diagnosis, this trial finally gives people a glimmer of hope. A cure can’t wait.
“Anyone affected by a glioblastoma can speak to us for support and information on 0808 800 0004 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need someone to talk to, we’re here for you.”
You can find out more about the fundraising efforts for Laura Nuttall here.
This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV.
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