Rose and Jack to the rescue! Former Titanic costars and friends Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio teamed up to help save the life of a 28-year-old mother named Gemma Nuttall who is battling cancer.
Nuttall, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was pregnant, refused potentially life-saving treatment because she would have been forced to terminate her pregnancy. After her daughter was born, she was told she had six months to live.
The Oscar-winning actress, 42, surprised Nuttall, whose daughter Penelope is now 3 years old, by calling in during her appearance on British talk show This Morning on Monday, February 5.
“I lost my own mother last year in May to ovarian cancer and we as a family were given a very poor prognosis for my mum, after a four-year battle, a really unbelievable fight, we decided to look elsewhere and we also stumbled across those places in Germany,” Winslet said. “Simultaneously I came across a petition on change.org.uk, which was Gemma, or someone on behalf of Gemma, campaigning to have immunotherapy made available on the NHS and my heart sunk as at that point I thought. This poor young woman is probably years away from her being able to access that kind of treatment on the national health service.’”
Winslet went to on to explain that she contacted Nuttall’s mother, Helen, to start raising funds so her daughter could start a six-session course of immunotherapy, a treatment that can cost up to $98,000 a visit.
“We got close to £200,000 [roughly $280,000] and I thought, ‘Right it’s time to call my friend Leo,’” the Reader actress said. “I phoned Leo and I said, ‘Do you think we could do a charity dinner or something?’ And he said, ‘Let’s go one better. Come with me to St. Tropez, to my big fundraiser for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation … And we will auction off a dinner with Jack and Rose.’” The pair auctioned off three dinners with “Jack and Rose” in July and ended up raising $1.35 million to be split between Nuttall and DiCaprio’s foundation, which focuses on conservation.
While Winslet and DiCaprio have helped Nuttall make great strides, she still needs more help.
“Gemma needs further urgent specialist cancer treatment in Germany. Without it, she will die,” Winlset said in a statement to Us Weekly on Monday, February 5. “I have been in communication with Gemma and her lovely mum, Helen, for a while now. And we are all so thrilled that we were able to send Gemma off to the Hallwang for her first round of treatment. I will continue to assist with her costs, but we do still badly need your donations.”
She continued, “Join me in supporting this 28-year-old mum! Let’s truly do our best to keep her alive for her 3-year-old daughter, Penelope, who loves and needs her Mummy so much. We might be able to save her life with these desperately needed funds for this essential treatment. So spread the word out there! Let’s all tell as many people as we know, and please keep the words of support coming and the incredibly generous donations coming. Everyone deserves the best chance at life, let’s all try to help Gemma and Penelope have theirs!”
Fans can donate to Gemma’s GoFundMe here.