How Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio Teamed Up to Help ‘Save the Life’ of a Complete Stranger
“It actually worked. It actually really did work,” Winslet added in a surprise phone call to the studio, which left guest Nuttall shocked. “We raised the money and the treatment has worked, and I think that’s a real headline here: That things really can be done when there is a poor prognosis, just a devastating prognosis.”
As explained on the show, Nuttall — a dental nurse from Lancashire, England — was diagnosed with aggressive ovarian cancer during the initial stages of pregnancy and refused potentially life-saving medicine as it would have terminated the life of her unborn baby.
She was given 6 to 12 months to live but following the birth of daughter Penelope, now aged 3, she endured months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, to bravely defeat the cancer. In a cruel twist, she was discovered to have developed multiple brain tumors a year later.
In desperation, Nuttall turned to a “wonder clinic” in Germany, starting a six-session course of immunotherapy in May 2017. With the treatment costing up to $98,000 a time, however, Nuttall could not afford to continue the life-saving treatment and created a Gofundme page.
It was here that fate stepped in through the guise of a total stranger: Oscar winner Winslet, who had been researching the same clinics in response to “a very poor prognosis” for her mother, Sally, who died in May 2017.
“I just thought ‘I can’t have this happen,’” said a clearly emotional Winslet about the moment she discovered Nuttall’s story. “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, for another young mum.”
Winslet then contacted Nuttall’s mother, Helen Sproates, 56, and together they entered into a frenzied texting “crusade” to gather funds from friends and compassionate people who were equally touched by the story.
“It was just amazing,” added Winslett. “We got close to £200,000 ($280,000) and at that point I thought, ‘Right, it’s time to call my friend Leo’.
“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,’ which is back in July, ‘and we will auction off a dinner with Jack and Rose.’”