Jamie Oliver has sent a teenager with a brain tumour a message in time for Christmas, after an appeal from his mum on Facebook.
James Marks’ mum, Teresa Marks, from Hertfordshire, shared a status on Facebook explaining her son’s story and his wish to meet Jamie Oliver, Robbie Williams or Mr Bean [Rowan Atkinson].
Teresa explained her 17-year-old son, who has autism, was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumour in January 2017 and has since undergone surgery and a “relentless course” of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
The tumour shrank by 80% but sadly, the family were told a few weeks ago that the tumour is growing back.
James is back in UCLH to undergo more treatment but his mum said doctors have told her the “prognosis is bleak”.
“It’s a very, very difficult time and it’s hard to stay positive but I have no other option as James is my priority and I will make sure he remains positive and happy,” Teresa wrote.
“James has three people he would dearly love to meet… Robbie Williams, Jamie Oliver and Mr Bean. Please, please could everyone share this and see how far this could reach. Thank you everyone in advance.”
Her status was shared 4,500 times in the five days since it was posted, and managed to reach the celebrity chef.
On 20 December, Teresa shared a video that she was sent by Jamie Oliver.
“Well this produced one of the biggest smiles I’ve seen on my beautiful James’ face,” she wrote.
In the 30-second clip, Oliver opens by saying he has a message for James Marks.
“Your mum told me how brave you’ve been and all the things you’ve been doing in hospital,” he said.
“Firstly I’m so glad you’re home for Christmas to spend it with your family, that’s amazing news.
“I’ve put a hamper together for you, I’ve signed you up a book and I’m to get it to you before Christmas.
“Let’s hook up in the New Year – come into one of my restaurants and we’ll look after you. Well done for being so brave and brilliant.
“Have a happy, happy Christmas.”
On the Facebook page for her son, Teresa shared an instance where her son has been spreading kindness since he has been diagnosed.
She said he had asked her to go out with him to buy steak and mash for dinner. On the way back to the hospital, James asked his mum to stop the wheelchair so he could speak to a homeless person.
“James introduced himself and they started chatting,” she wrote. “James then asked the man if he was hungry, to which the man said he was.
“James then offered his hot meal to the man and also gave him his bottle of water.
“The man (Danny) was so very grateful and shook James’ hand. After chatting for around 10 minutes we came back to the hospital and James asked if we could go back and give Danny a blanket and pillow.
“I cannot find the words to describe how proud I am of my beautiful son. What a heart of pure gold he has! He is selfless beyond belief and wishes to help those less fortunate. I am bursting with pride at the beautiful human my son is.”
To follow James’ journey and his mum’s appeal, like his Facebook page.