Collection of celebrity short stories raises money for research into children’s cancers

Cancer Research UK

To coincide with World Book Day, 2 March 2017, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens is launching a collection of short stories and poems written by eight celebrity supporters: actor David Harewood, actress Fay Ripley, musician Nathan Sykes, boyband The Vamps, actress Hermione Norris, author The Unmumsy Mum, actress Charlotte Ritchie and soap star Matthew Wolfenden.

"My kids are growing up now but it is a pleasure to pass on one of these stories to such a great cause. I hope it makes people laugh and perhaps notice one of the many real life heroes that are all around us." - Fay Ripley

The Little Book of Big Heroes includes stories of heroism and bravery, to reflect the strength that children are forced to display when faced with a cancer diagnosis.  From David Harewood’s story about a young spy who saves his city from aliens, to Matthew Wolfenden’s poem about a dinosaur who loses his roar, and Fay Ripley’s story about a boy with a rather extraordinary nose, each story takes the reader on a journey of challenge and adventure. 

The book, aimed at children aged 7-11, is available to download on Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens’ website from Thursday 2 March.  Any donations received will go towards vital research to find new and kinder treatments for young people facing cancer.

Emma Smith, science communications manager at Cancer Research UK said: “Each year, around 4,200 young people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK, and the strength that they and their families show under very difficult circumstances is inspirational. The good news is that today, more of them are surviving than ever before, and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of this progress. But there are still around 540 cancer deaths in young people each year, and research is the key to changing this. We hope everyone enjoys reading The Little Book of Big Heroes and donates so that we can continue our work to beat children’s cancers sooner.”

One of the book’s contributors, Nathan Sykes, said: “I’ve talked before about my incredible little cousin Jessica and her fight against cancer so I didn’t hesitate when Cancer Research UK asked me to be involved with this campaign. Jess and her sister Isabelle were definitely the inspiration behind ‘Rainbow’s End’. I hope everyone enjoys reading the story!”

Fay Ripley, who also contributed a story, said: "As I turned off their light my kids always used to shout ‘one more story mum.' So I’d tell them about Bogey Boy. The unlikely superhero who didn't have many friends and felt invisible but who did have a very, very, runny nose. In fact he was far from invisible. He was a real life superhero. My kids are growing up now but it is a pleasure to pass on one of these stories to such a great cause. I hope it makes people laugh and perhaps notice one of the many real life heroes that are all around us.”

Tune in to Cancer Research UK’s Facebook page at 7pm on Thursday 2 March for a special bedtime story from Call the Midwife’s Charlotte Ritchie.

To download your copy of The Little Book of Big Heroes and donate to Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, visit www.cruk.org/bigheroes

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on +44 203 469 8300 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on +44 7050 264 059.

Notes to Editor

Celebrity quotes

Fay Ripley, said: "As I turned off their light my kids always used to shout ‘one more story mum.' So I’d tell them about Bogey Boy. The unlikely superhero who didn't have many friends and felt invisible but who did have a very, very, runny nose. In fact he was far from invisible. He was a real life superhero. My kids are growing up now but it is a pleasure to pass on one of these stories to such a great cause. I hope it makes people laugh and perhaps notice one of the many real life heroes that are all around us.”

Nathan Sykes, said: “I’ve talked before about my incredible little cousin Jessica and her fight against Cancer so I didn’t hesitate when Cancer Research UK asked me to be involved with this campaign.  Jess and her sister Isabelle were definitely the inspiration behind ‘Rainbow’s End’.  I hope everyone enjoys reading the story!!”

The Vamps, said: “We are honoured to have contributed a story to the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens book. We were in the studio thinking about ideas and it seemed a no-brainer that our story would be about a band with superpowers.  If we can make anyone smile with our story then it will definitely have been worth it.”

Matthew Wolfenden, said: “The inspiration behind my poem came from a little girl who I recently met, she told me how she ran up to her bedroom and cried for days after her beautiful blonde hair started to fall out – she’s now in remission and is so proud of her new locks. Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens is a cause I feel strongly about in many ways, so I was really happy to be able to support this project.”

Hermione Norris, said: “I love animals, which is why my story is about a Great Dane called Ophelia. She might appear very big and scary to some, but has a giant heart and helps people in the village where she lives. It’s so important to recognise the strength children show when faced with difficult circumstances, so I was delighted to be able to support Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens with my story.”

Charlotte Ritchie, said: “Before I started writing my story, I spoke with a young girl who was diagnosed with cancer when she was little.  She’s been through so much but has come out the other side. It seemed there were times when she wanted to hide and times when she felt frustration and didn’t how to express what it was she was going through. She was a wonderful person to speak with who helped me bring my story to life.”

The Unmumsy Mum, real name Sarah Turner, said: “I’m so used to writing about the realities of motherhood so it was nice to think creatively about something completely different. Children and young people who are affected by cancer have so much to deal with, and I got to thinking about how heroes come from all walks of life and in all shapes and sizes. My poem is based on a little boy who discovers what it really means to be brave.”