One of Emma Bunton's biggest fans received the surprise of her life when the Spice Girls star dropped in on her during afternoon tea with a friend. Cancer survivor Sophie Belcher was marking her "cancerversary", a celebration of her overcoming cancer - 20 years on from when she was first diagnosed.
The 25-year-old, who hails from Stoke-on-Trent, was told by doctors she had neuroblastoma when she was just five-years-old after being taken to hospital by her parents with a suspected lazy eye. After undergoing months of treatment, including chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumour - Sophie channelled her strength with the help of listening to Spice Girls hit songs ahead of any surgery.
Celebrating her successful road to recovery, Emma, 40, surprised Sophie with a beautiful cake before learning about her turbulent journey.
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Emma Bunton surprised cancer survivor Sophie Belcher as she was marking her "cancerversary"
"All my five-year-old dreams have come true - I came here under the pretence of an afternoon tea, and Baby Spice just appeared," said Sophie. "I didn’t have a clue what was going on and meeting her was amazing. When I was going through treatment when I was five, I loved everything that the Spice Girls were about. I used to dress as different Spice Girls each time I had treatment – it really helped at the time and meeting Emma has been such a positive celebration of my 20-year cancerversary. Emma even brought cake and flowers - it was so lovely to talk to her and I just wasn't expecting it at all.
Sophie's experience of cancer has been a testing one after she lost her brother to a brain tumour in 2001 and her mother to secondary breast cancer six years ago. Tests have shown the family are affected by Li Fraumeni Syndrome which increases their risk of developing cancer, meaning Sophie will have to continue to have checks.
"Sophie is a truly extraordinary young woman and I feel so honoured to have met this amazing lady today. She's girl power personified and is a huge inspiration," the former pop star explained. "20 years on from her first diagnosis and after losing her mum and brother, Sophie's spirit remains unbreakable. I'm proud to Stand Up To Cancer with her and make this happen.
"Sophie and I are joining the rebellion against cancer this October and we urge the nation to join us, donate, fundraise and do whatever they can to raise awareness and funds that will help get kinder treatments to patients, faster."
Emma Bunton and Sophie Belcher are supporting Stand Up To Cancer. For more information visit: standuptocancer.org.uk