A seven-year-old leukaemia patient from Beckenham was served afternoon tea by Strictly’s Ore Oduba, the original Calendar Girls and journalist John Sergeant yesterday (Monday 20 Feb) to mark a year since the end of his treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Andrew Berthoud, who was diagnosed with the disease in October 2012 aged just three years old, completed his final round of chemotherapy exactly a year ago to the day of the afternoon tea party (20 Feb). He and his sister Clara (9), mum Melody, and dad Joseph, joined a group of blood cancer patients and their families in Soho’s Muriel’s Kitchen for tea, cake and sandwiches, ahead of the London Gala night of The Girls, a brand new musical in support of blood cancer charity Bloodwise.
During the afternoon, Andrew was reunited with Ollie Harrison (8), from Sussex, who was diagnosed with the same type of blood cancer as Andrew. The pair struck up a friendship in hospital after undergoing treatment at the same time.
Melody, who went on to attend the Gala night, said: “Clara was thrilled to spend some time chatting with Ore whilst eating cucumber sandwiches, cakes and scones. Andrew took everything in his stride as he was whisked off for photos with Ore and Angela Baker, one of the original Calendar Girls.
“Joseph and I were honoured to walk up the green lawn to the theatre to attend the Gala performance. The energy from the crowd made for an amazing evening. Just when we thought the day could not get any better, Gary Barlow and Tim Firth came on stage to sing!
“We had an amazing day and our thanks must go to Bloodwise for inviting us along to this special occasion.”
Ore Oduba added: "It was a real privilege to sit with the families whose lives have been changed thanks to the tireless work Bloodwise does. Tea with the original Calendar Girls? What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!"
The Girls musical will support Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research), the charity long associated with the original Calendar Girls and their story. Angela Baker lost her husband John, to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1998, sparking the idea to create the now infamous ‘alternative’ Women’s Institute calendar. To date, the ladies have raised millions of pounds for research into blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Inspired by the incredible achievements of the ladies and following on from the success of the musical, Bloodwise is launching a brand new fundraising campaign – Tea With The Girls – which encourages family and friends to get together and enjoy an afternoon tea. Money raised from the initiative will be invested in blood cancer research to improve the lives of patients with the disease, which kills more people each year than breast or prostate cancer.
For more information on Tea with The Girls and hosting your own even, please visit www.bloodwise.org.uk/tea-with-the-girls