Gemma Nuttall and her mother appeared Monday on the British show “This Morning,” where they talked about how Winslet learned of Nuttall’s battle and how the actress helped save her.
Nuttall was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer at the same time she found out she was 16 weeks’ pregnant. After a cesarean section at 36 weeks brought baby Penelope into the world, the new mom began six months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, according to her GoFundMe page. Then she learned she had brain and lung cancer as well. The prognosis wasn’t good, and doctors told her to make a will and provisions for her daughter.
“After what seemed like a unbelievably long and exhausting battle we were told by the doctors here in the UK that nothing more could be done for her,” Helen Sproates, Nuttall’s mom, wrote on the GoFundMe page. “She was put on palliative care and we were told she had just a few months to live.”
But after doing some research, Sproates located a clinic in Germany that offered immunotherapy, a treatment method that uses the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. Unfortunately, each treatment cost nearly $98,000 ― and Nuttall needed six.
Fortunately, Kate Winslet came across Nuttall’s story last year while researching clinics in Germany for her own mother, who was suffering from ovarian cancer.
“My heart sank,” Winslet said when she phoned in to “This Morning” as a surprise for Nuttall. “I saw how much money she needed to raise ... and I just thought I can’t have this happen.”
“My own mother was very, very unwell, and I just thought my mum would be incredibly proud if I could do this for somebody else,” the actress said as her voice broke. Winslet’s mother died in May of last year.
So she teamed up with Nuttall’s mom to raise funds, and eventually she called in DiCaprio, her close friend and former co-star.
“I phoned Leo and I said, ‘Do you think we could do a charity dinner or something?’” Winslet told People magazine. “And he said, ‘Let’s go one better. Come with me to St. Tropez, to my big fundraiser for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation,’ which is back in July, ‘and we will auction off a dinner with Jack and Rose.’”
The “Titanic” stars auctioned off three dinners with themselves and raised over $1.35 million for treatment, according to People.
Nuttall, who spoke to Winslet directly for the first time on Monday’s show, told the actress that she couldn’t be more grateful for her help.
“I just want to say thank you so much for all your hard work and [helping] me being able to have my treatment that I really did need,” Nuttall said before she began crying. “You saved my life and I just want you to know that.”
Though the initial round of treatment was a success, Nuttall isn’t totally out of the woods yet.
“Gemma needs further urgent specialist cancer treatment in Germany. Without it, she will die,” Winslet said in a statement provided to Us Weekly on Monday. “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.”
Winslet added, “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.”