In 2013, Gemma Nuttall was told she didn't have much longer to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. Only a crucial, but dangerous, form of treatment could save her life. However, she made the profound decision to refuse the life-saving medication because it would terminate her pregnancy.
Her situation took a turn for the worse when the cancer spread after delivering the baby, and the only option to save Nuttall was a very expensive immunotherapy treatment.
Thankfully, Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio came to the rescue and saved her life.
Nuttall, who's from Lancashire, England, knew she made the right decision in favor of her unborn child. The 29-year-old gave birth to a baby girl, Penelope, on March 24, 2014.
She saved my life, she was the reason my cancer had been discovered. I felt I had to repay the favour.
https://t.co/cjl0x5ZRjR At last, some good news in the world.— Alex Rawle (@Alex Rawle)1517768833.0
The joy of birth quickly gave way to despair after the new mother heard news of the cancer spreading to her cervix. After an emergency caesarean, she was prepped for surgery to remove the tumor.
"They held Penelope up to me, I saw her and then they took her away and put me to sleep," she told the Daily Mirror.
So I didn't get that precious moment to hold my baby and feel that rush of emotion. I was too unwell to see her that night when I woke up, which was heartbreaking because it was all I wanted to do. It wasn't until the following day when I was taken to see her in my wheelchair.
She was in an incubator and I reached in and held her hand, for as long as I could. We were both alive and that was all that mattered.After Penelope was born, Nuttall began chemotherapy two weeks later. But the prognosis was not good when the treatment was over.
However, she was determined not to give up and sought other treatment which led her to the discovery of the Hallwang Clinic in Germany where she would undergo therapy.
She and her mother, Helen Sproates, started a fundraiser to help offset the exorbitant cost of the treatment.
Nuttall said that both Winslet and Di Caprio, who are close friends, contributed $423,000 to the fund, and essentially saved her life.
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio save cancer mum told to die at home by NHS https://t.co/znTRPOFJXJ— Leo Gregory (@Leo Gregory)1517736667.0
The celebrities, who played the star-crossed lovers in Titanic, auctioned off date nights to raise money to help the dying mother.
After completing the immunotherapy treatment, Nuttall is now cancer-free, thanks to "Jack and Rose."
@leogregs So nice to read something nice on twitter. Kindness pays off 👏🙏— K L (@K L)1517743112.0
Sproates explained that Winslet's PA reached out and told her, "Kate told me from one mum to another mum, she couldn't let my daughter die."
She's been brilliant. She's lovely, really down to earth and funny, it's just like chatting to a friend. Leonardo DiCaprio has a massive ball for his foundation every year, so Kate contacted him. They came up with a plan to auction themselves off. They sold three dates between them.
Kate Winslet and Hi save dying mother's life as we raise money for cancer treatment ❤👌💕 https://t.co/57oRJle7YK— Leonardo dicaprio (@Leonardo dicaprio)1517761502.0
Nuttall is healthy and grateful.
I can't thank Kate enough. Without her donations, and the public's, my story would be very different. We thought it was a wind-up, but then she called and I realised she was serious.
I told her I could never thank her enough and she told me not to be daft. She said she had read about my story online, that she had three kids of her own and had thought about what she would be like in that position.
The cancer survivor hopes to stay in touch with her lifesaver.
I think we would just have a general chit chat if we met up, she'd want to take my mind off it all. I'd love to introduce her to Penelope. I have been asked if I regret having Penelope. But I'd never think that. She saved my life. If it wasn't for her I might not be here now.
Kate Winslet and Hi help save life of cancer mum who delayed treatment to give birth to baby girl 👌❤ https://t.co/n0wdU0VIeT— Leonardo dicaprio (@Leonardo dicaprio)1517761376.0