Dame Esther Rantzen has sent out her thanks to fans for their incredible support following her recent cancer diagnosis.
The broadcaster, 82, revealed on Sunday that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer, which has now spread to other areas.
And now blown away by the support, she told the PA news agency on Monday: ‘I never dreamt I would receive such extraordinarily kind messages’.
Thankful: Dame Esther Rantzen, 82, has given her thanks to fans for their support after revealing she has been diagnosed with lung cancer
Following the announcement, Dame Esther, who is founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line, was inundated with support from fans and fellow celebrities.
And sharing how much the support has helped, she explained: ‘I never dreamt I would receive such extraordinarily kind messages, some from close family, friends and colleagues…
‘Some from viewers and readers I’ve never met, some from people I am deeply fond of but haven’t seen for ages – and so many wicked memories of jokes we enjoyed together which I cannot deny.’
The TV personality even got emotional over the many messages and even shed a few positive tears.
‘Optimistic’: Dame Esther said in a statement to the PA news agency: ‘In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread’
She added to PA: ‘So thank you for lifting my spirits, especially with personal anecdotes from people who have been helped by charities such as Childline and The Silver Line and stories from friends who have experienced really effective cancer treatments.
‘Over the past day I have discovered that if you do decide to share your story, as I did, you will be amazed and delighted how kind people are – and sometimes slightly shocked how accurate their memories of your misdemeanours can be. Thank you, everyone!’
Following the news over the weekend, fans took to Twitter to share an outpouring of sorrow and praise for Dame Esther, calling her a ‘living legend’ and admiring her ‘positive attitude’.
High praise: Following the news over the weekend, fans took to Twitter to share an outpouring of sorrow and praise for Dame Esther, calling her a ‘living legend’ and admiring her ‘positive attitude’
One said: ‘Dame Esther Rantzen is more than a living legend. She is such an amazing force for good.
‘My thoughts & prayers are with her & I wish her all the best for a speedy recovery. We need Fabulous people like her.’
‘I wish her & her family well. And thank her for her activism shining a light on the vulnerable & otherwise unheard, young & old’.
While a fourth added: ‘Very sad but an admirably positive attitude from Esther Rantzen’.
Dame Esther shared her health news over the weekend with a statement to the PA news agency, where she said: ‘In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread.’
‘At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment.
She added that after having to don disguises during her trips to hospital for tests she has decided to go public.
‘I have decided not to keep this secret any more because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me,’ she explained.
Esther continued by thanking her family, friends and colleagues ‘who have made my life so joyful.’
‘At the age of 82, this diagnosis has prompted me to look back over the years, and I want to express my profound thanks to everyone who has made my life so joyful, filled with fun, and with inspiration.
Thankful: Esther continued by thanking her family, friends and colleagues ‘who have made my life so joyful,’ including her three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua ‘who have been the most wonderful support’ (pictured with daughter Rebecca Wilcox in 2017)
‘First and foremost my family. My three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua have been the most wonderful support, company, and source of love and laughter and I am deeply grateful to them.
‘My friends have been amazing and have created memories which sustain me and give me strength.
‘My colleagues with whom I have worked, and continue to work with in broadcasting, journalism, the voluntary sector, and in many other organisations have been a constant pleasure, and have amazed me with their tolerance of my wild ideas and awful jokes.
‘I have been continuously inspired by the courageous children, older people and viewers who have trusted me with their life stories. I have always tried to live up to that trust.
‘As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic.’
Dame Esther, who was a trailblazer for female broadcasters, became a household name during her career at the BBC.
She is best-known for presenting That’s Life! – a programme featuring a mix of investigations, topical issues and entertainment – from 1973 to 1994.
More recently she has fronted the 2018 Channel 5 consumer advice show Esther Rantzen’s House Trap, and made a 2021 film for the channel entitled Living With Grief.
In addition to her success as a journalist and broadcaster, Dame Esther is also the founder of children’s charity Childline, which she established in 1986.
TV career: Dame Esther, who was a trailblazer for female broadcasters, became a household name during her BBC career (pictured on That’s Life! which she fronted from 1973 to 1994)
NSPCC’s CEO Sir Peter Wanless said in response to the news on Sunday: ‘I speak on behalf of Childline’s volunteers, staff and supporters in sending love and best wishes to Dame Esther Rantzen and her family.
‘Esther’s tireless commitment to Childline and the wider NSPCC over the years is truly inspiring and the positive impact that’s she had on children’s live is unimaginable.’
‘No matter what, she has always been here for children and young people and likewise, we are here to support her during this challenging time.’
Loss: Dame Esther’s documentary maker husband Desmond Wilcox died in 2000, something she has admitted struggling to come to terms with (pictured together renewing their vows in 1999)
In 2012, Dame Esther helped create The Silver Line, a confidential helpline designed to combat loneliness for older people’s.
During the global pandemic, the star warned that lockdown restrictions had created a daily battle against isolation and loneliness for pensioners, campaigning on behalf of the vulnerable.
She regularly wrote about her own experience of being unable to see her five grandchildren Benji, nine, Xander and Teddy seven, and Florence and Romilly, four.
Dame Esther’s documentary maker husband Desmond Wilcox died in 2000, something she has admitted struggling to come to terms with.
The broadcaster and activist received a Damehood for services to children and older people in the 2015 New Years Honours List.
Children: Dame Esther is mother to Emily, Josua and Rebecca and has five grandchildren Benji, nine, Xander and Teddy seven, and Florence and Romilly, four (pictured with her husband and children in 1986)
Campaigner: She received a Damehood for services to children and older people in 2015 (pictured 2017 with King Charles at a reception to mark The Duchess of Cornwall’s 70th)
This post first appeared on Daily mail