Emma Bunton, one fifth of the most famous girl band of all time – the Spice Girls – and Stand Up To Cancer supporter, took time out from her daily radio show on Heart FM to give 25-year-old Sophie Belcher the surprise of her life. Emma joined Sophie to mark her ‘cancerversary’, a celebration of her overcoming cancer, 20 years on from when she was first diagnosed.
Sophie, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, was told she had neuroblastoma when she was just five-years-old after being taken to hospital by her parents with a suspected lazy eye. She underwent months of treatment, including chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumour – and insisted on wearing her beloved Spice Girls clothes throughout her time in hospital.
Emma Bunton joined Sophie Belcher to mark her ‘cancer-versary’, a celebration of her overcoming cancer, 20 years on from when she was first diagnosed. After …
Due to the complexity of Sophie’s cancer, surgeons were only able to remove around 25% of the tumour and Sophie was monitored closely for several years. She underwent more surgery to remove the tumour in 2004, followed by six courses of chemotherapy. Although the tumour on her spine could not be fully removed, Sophie, who is originally from Plymouth, is doing well.
Sadly, Sophie’s experience of cancer didn’t stop there, she lost her brother to a brain tumour in 2001 and her mum to secondary breast cancer six years ago. Tests have shown the family are affected by Li Fraumeni Syndrome* which increases their risk of developing cancer, and Sophie will continue to have checks.
Despite cancer turning Sophie’s life upside down, she is celebrating overcoming the disease. In her own words, it is her ‘cancerversary’ and she feels proud that she has come out the other side as a strong and determined young woman. To mark the occasion, she took a trip to London with a close friend for afternoon tea.
Little did she know her childhood hero, Emma Bunton, was waiting with a beautiful cake to surprise Sophie.
Emma, who currently co-presents the breakfast show on Heart radio, said: “Sophie is a truly extraordinary young woman and I feel so honoured to have met this amazing lady today. She’s girl power personified and is a huge inspiration.
20 years on from her first diagnosis and after losing her mum and brother, Sophie’s spirit remains unbreakable. I’m proud to Stand Up To Cancer with her and make this happen.
Sophie and I are joining the rebellion against cancer this October and we urge the nation to join us, donate, fundraise and do whatever they can to raise awareness and funds that will help get kinder treatments to patients, faster.”
Sophie said: “All my five-year-old dreams have come true – I came here under the pretence of an afternoon tea, and Baby Spice just appeared! I didn’t have a clue what was going on and meeting her was amazing.
“When I was going through treatment when I was five, I loved everything that the Spice Girls were about. I used to dress as different Spice Girls each time I had treatment – it really helped at the time and meeting Emma has been such a positive celebration of my 20-year cancerversary. Emma even brought cake and flowers – it was so lovely to talk to her and I just wasn’t expecting it at all.
“I have come through 20 years since my diagnosis but have lost my mum to secondary breast cancer and my brother to a brain tumour in that time. I know I’m not alone in losing loved ones to this awful disease. I’ve seen it from all perspectives and I want to raise as much awareness as I can. I am so pleased to support Stand Up To Cancer.”
Emma Bunton and Sophie Belcher are supporting Stand Up To Cancer. For more information visit:standuptocancer.org.uk