Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones brought smiles and cheer to a group of seriously ill youngsters on a return visit to the Welsh hospital she opened in 2006. The occasion was an emotional one as Catherine took the time to meet and speak to some of the critically ill children who are treated at the specialist unit.Due her long-standing support of the hospital, Catherine was invited to unveil the its new name, The Noah's Ark Children's Hospital of Wales, six years after it opened its doors in the Welsh capital of Cardiff. Since then the Swansea-born actress has made sure to keep in touch and in 2010 she attended a function to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the hospital's official charity, the Noah's Ark Appeal.
During a moving speech the Zorro star said: "the hospital has always been a cause close to me. As a mother, the plight of some of the children has never failed to pull at my heart strings. When I was asked to unveil the new name of the children's hospital, I jumped at the chance."
She added: "Even in these dark financial times, people are still donating money to this wonderful hospital. The bravery of children and their parents who come here really hits home. Coming here today, you cannot help but be moved by some of the stories and battles children are going through. I often talk about it to friends of mine back in the States - it's something I'm very passionate about."The hospital treats around 25,000 young people and 75,000 outpatients each year, providing life-saving treatment to as well as expert skills for those with conditions requiring specialist care.
Amoungst the young patients was 14-year-old Demi Davis who is currently undergoing treament for a brain tumour. Whilst her mother, Kelly, confessed "I don't think Demi knew who she was at first" she added "but when she realised she was meeting a movie star she was over the moon." Thirty-eight-year-old Kelly, who is from Tonyrefail, 15 miles from Cardiff, added "Catherine Zeta-Jones's visit means a lot because to everyone here because she is doing so much to help raise the profile of the hospital." The 43-year-old had taken the time out of her busy filming schedule to be able to support the hospital, based in her native south Wales. The Darling Buds of May actress is currently shooting her latest blockbuster with Sir Anthony Hopkins in London. The film, Red 2, is a comedy that also stars Bruce Willis and John Malkovich.Catherine has two children, Dylan, 12, and nine-year-old Carys, with her husband and fellow actor Michael Douglas. Michael began a his own tough battle with cancer in 2010.