Jean-Christophe Novelli and his wife Michelle have spoken about the difference it will make to children, young people and families across the east of England to have a dedicated children’s hospital.
The couple recalled the care provided to their family when their six-week-old son Valentino was referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with suspected cancer back in 2016.
“Discovering your child has cancer is every parent’s nightmare,” said Jean-Christophe. “But we were incredibly well looked after by staff at Addenbrooke’s, and we will be forever grateful for the care Valentino was given.
“However, the new Children’s Hospital is desperately needed. Some of the current facilities are really old and run down, and there is barely any space for families to be together when they are going through these difficult times."
A place that provides for the holistic needs of a child and their family, alongside the incredible research that helps identify, treat and prevent illness, would offer hope and comfort to so many families. Cambridge Children’s Hospital is that place.Jean-Christophe Novelli
The Michelin-star winning chef was speaking during a visit to Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) to see new facilities at recently renovated East Genomics Laboratory Hub which will deliver genomic testing for people across the east of England and East Midlands.
Jean Christophe and Michelle’s third son, Valentino was born in September 2016. He was referred to CUH – the regional centre for cancer - from his local hospital at just six weeks old. After diagnosing neuroblastoma, Valentino’s doctor, Dr Amos Burke, sent off a blood sample for genomic sequencing, in order to understand the severity of the cancer. The test confirmed that Valentino had a childhood cancer which had a high chance of being successfully treated. A centre of genomic medicine will be housed within the Research Institute at the Cambridge Children’s Hospital, to realise the potential of genomic medicine.
Michelle said: “When we first found out Valentino had a treatable form of neuroblastoma we were so relieved. The result gave us the hope we needed and it helped reassure us as well as the clinicians that he was on the most appropriate treatment for his specific type of cancer.”
Dr Burke said: “Genomic testing provides us with the ability to accurately identify subtypes of cancer and to prescribe the best treatment possible.
“It’s also incredibly important for families and patients to know that we are using the very best approaches to give the best chance of finding the most effective treatment for their situation.”
Watch the video of Jean-Christophe and Michelle talking about #AWholeNewWay below.
Jean-Christophe and Michelle speak about the Cambridge Children's Hospital