Kate Winslet has revealed how she and Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio teamed up to help a complete stranger win her battle against cancer.
Speaking on This Morning, Winslet opened up about her mother’s ordeal with ovarian cancer inspired her to try to ‘save the life’ of 28-year-old Gemma Nuttall. She was given just six to 12 months to live after being diagnosed with the same disease after the birth of her daughter. She would later discover multiple brain tumours.
However, after hearing of her story, Winslet and DiCaprio got together to raise funds to secretly send Nuttall for ‘wonder treatment’ in Germany.
“It actually worked. It actually really did work,” said Winslet in a surprise phone call to the This Morning studio, revealing her role to Nutall. “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.”
She continued: “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, for another young mum.”
Speaking of her efforts, Winslet said: “It was just amazing. 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.’”
After auctioning three dinners with ‘Jack and Rose,’ they raised a massive $1.35 million. The cash was then split between the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and treatment for the young mother, with leftover money now being used to launch a new foundation for cancer sufferers.
Winslet added: “I am now able to set up another foundation — which Gemma is going to help me run and be involved with — another foundation which will specifically help individuals who are in exactly the position that Gemma has been in. So, so much good has come out of this remarkable moment. I mean look at Gemma. Look at her. She is so beautiful. She is alive. She is cancer-free. It is utterly incredible. I feel so blessed that I could help.”
After discovering the pair’s role in her treatment, Nuttal replied: “I just want to say thank you so much for all your hard work and for me being able to have my treatment that I really did need. You saved my life and I just want you to know that.”
Sign up for the newsletter
In other Titanic news, Winslet recently proved once and for all that there was in fact room for Jack on the door at the end of the movie.
To mark the film’s 20th anniversary, Winslet appeared on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert. During the show, the host tested the actor on her Titanic knowledge, which ended with him asking if Rose could have done more to save Jack.
“I agree, I lied,” Winslet replied. “I held my hand up, I let him go.” She added that not all the blame should be put on her character, though, saying: “He should have tried harder to get on that door.”