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Michael Sheen moved by intimate stories behind new recipes book

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen has given his support to a new charity cookbook charting the personal journeys of cancer patients and their families through their love of food.     

Written by cancer patients and with contributions from some of Wales’ finest chefs, the book, produced by Velindre NHS Trust will go on sale to the public on 5 July to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service.

Commenting Michael Sheen said: “I heard about the cookbook from my friend Rhod Gilbert and wanted to do something to help, albeit in a small way. Cancer is one of the hardest battles we can face in life. For those going through treatment it can completely strip you of your appetite or make you focus on nutritional aspects of eating to support your treatment. But it doesn’t have to be like this.”

He added: “What makes this cookbook so special is that the recipes were written by cancer patients and their families with a view to helping others undergoing treatment to be able to enjoy these simple pleasures and experience some respite in their treatment and care. Many of the dishes included in the book have been passed from one generation to another, evoking fond and powerful memories. It’s these stories, coupled with fantastic recipes that makes this book so special. I also hope that it will help raise money for the vital work carried out by Velindre Cancer Centre.”                                

Ceri Harris who works for Velindre NHS Trust has been instrumental in the book’s progress from inception to publication. Commenting she said: “The inspiration for this book came from the very personal stories of our patients and friends at Velindre Cancer Centre. People like Amal Beyrouty. Her Kibbe, Lebanese dish was dedicated to her late sister Amna who she described as always being full of life, always the first up to dance and having an infectious smile. This was Amna’s favourite meal and it evoked lovely memories for Amal of family gatherings around the dinner table.

“Angharad Underwood’s journey is another deeply moving one.  One of her worst experiences, whilst undergoing treatment for breast cancer, was losing her taste buds. But strangely, she could still taste blackcurrant jam which she then had with everything. As the owner of The Preservation Society she wanted to give something back and decided that for every jar that she sold of her Blissfully Blackcurrant jam she would donate 10 pence to help Velindre’s fundraising efforts.”

The Cookbook will go on sale on the 5th July for £10, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the NHS. It will be available at Velindre Cancer Centre, several independent bookshops and via Velindre Patient Cook Book Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Velindre-Patient-Cookbook-Food-Memories-that-make-you-smile-213117176135909/

All proceeds will go to Velindre Fundraising. To reserve a copy of the book email Velindrecookbook@wales.nhs.uk