‘Heroes Against Cancer’ is granting the wishes of young cancer patients across the UK as they receive a surprise from their personal ‘hero’, with a specially recorded video message or a meet-and-greet in person.
Stars who have sent surprise messages to their young fans include Grammy award-winning singer-songwriters Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish, comedian Michael McIntyre, TV presenters Ant and Dec, popstar and TV presenter Olly Murs, musicians the Goo Goo Dolls, Joe Wicks, Sam Ryder, Team GB’s Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, Footballers David Brooks and Tommy Conway and YouTubers Ali-A, Slogo and Rebecca Zamolo.
Each child has their own personal connection to their ‘hero’. One cancer patient aged 13 is a huge fan of watching dynamic duo Ant and Dec’s television programmes, while 13-year-old Lois, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia when she was 9 years old in 2019, loves Michael McIntyre’s gameshow ‘The Wheel’ which always makes her laugh.
For 10-year-old Dylan, a fan of the Goo Goo Dolls, the band’s song ‘So Alive’ was particularly important to him when he was undergoing treatment for lung cancer. As part of the campaign, the band invited Dylan to their recent show in Manchester, where he had the chance to meet his musical heroes in person.
Hannah Longstaff is mum to 4-year-old Matilda, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in February 2022 and received a special message from her hero, Eurovision star Sam Ryder.
Matilda’s hero is Sam Ryder and when she was diagnosed in February last year, Sam’s song ‘Space Man’ was all she would sing. Throughout her journey, his songs have bought her so much joy – when she would dance around dressed as an astronaut and singing her heart out on the Oncology wards of Leeds Children’s Hospital.
As a family, we have found so much comfort in Matilda’s love for Sam’s music, which has provided our little girl with so much joy even on her hardest days. And as a parent to a child with cancer, Sam’s song ‘Mountain’ sums up the incredibly hard journey she has had to face, but also the resilience she has shown in her fight against leukaemia.
After inviting patient families to nominate their child and their personal hero, the charity received 60 requests and the Children with Cancer UK team have been working hard behind-the-scenes to make the dreams of the many children they support come true and provide a moment of fun and excitement for them and their loved ones.
Jo Elvin, CEO at Children with Cancer UK, said:
We’re delighted to launch ‘Heroes Against Cancer’ and create truly special moments for young cancer patients and their families. Whilst they are going through what can be harrowing cancer treatments we felt that creating happy memories was essential for their wellbeing and we hope these messages of support from their own personal heroes will be a wonderful surprise. We’d also like to thank all of our celebrity supporters who have been involved in the campaign and sent such special messages to their young fans.
Children with Cancer UK is the leading national children’s charity working towards a world where every child survives cancer.
Jo Elvin continued:
As well as funding ground-breaking scientific research into the treatment and causes of childhood cancer, we’re also committed to providing ongoing support for young cancer patients. Offering experiences such as this are so important in helping to create a moment of fun, excitement and respite for patients and their families, and we’re determined to make even more wishes come true.
Patient families are invited to nominate their child, and their child’s personal hero, for a chance to be involved in ‘Heroes Against Cancer’. To make a nomination, visit www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraising/heroes-against-cancer
Survival rates for children’s cancers are improving. Fifty years ago, three-quarters of children diagnosed with cancer died; today more than 8 in 10 children diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive. However, with around 4,200 new cases each year in the UK, it is still one of the leading causes of death for children and young people.
Notes to Editors:
About Children with Cancer UK:
Children with Cancer UK is a leading children’s cancer charity dedicated to raising and investing funds into vital specialist research to save the lives of children and young people with cancer. Our mission is to improve survival rates and the quality of survival in young patients, and to find ways to prevent cancer in the future. Whilst working towards this, Children with Cancer UK funds support for children and their families as they navigate treatment. What began as a small memorial charity in 1988, has evolved into a major force raising more than £300 million and investing in over 200 pioneering research projects.
For more information about Children with Cancer UK, visit www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk.