Mastermind Varun on BBC Children in Need Appeal Show

We hope you all were able to tune into the fantastic BBC Children in Need Appeal Show last night. Perhaps you caught the special edition of Mastermind featuring the inspiring 15-year-old Varun Mahatme alongside comedian John Thomson? We had the privilege of entertaining Varun when he was in hospital.

We met Varun during his treatment for cancer at University College Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his spine just before his eleventh birthday, and underwent seven months of chemotherapy, two major operations to remove the tumour and reconstruct his spine, followed by three months in America having proton radiotherapy.

Varun described our visits: “It was during my chemotherapy that I first met the Spread a Smile team. I woke up to find Magic Martin at the end of my bed. I had been feeling really rough that day and he took my mind off my illness with his extraordinary magic.

“It is very isolating being in hospital and I felt really alone at times. I was often bored and there was very little to do to take my mind off my treatment and I really missed my friends.

“Without Spread a Smile my journey would have been a lot more difficult to endure. I certainly would have smiled a lot less. It is a wonderful charity and they really do what they say… spreading smiles to all the children they meet.”

We have been receiving support from Children in Need since 2015, to help us entertain more children in hospitals and we are incredibly grateful to the entire team at Children in Need for their support and for helping us raise awareness of our work.

We would like to thank Varun and the Mahatme family for sharing their story. It was a privilege for us to entertain Varun who has been such an inspiration to the whole team at Spread a Smile.