TV chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and his fiancée Michelle Kennedy spoke about their joy at being able to celebrate their son’s second birthday after the infant almost died from neuroblastoma.
The Hell’s Kitchen star, 57, and his fiancée Michelle, 42, were left heartbroken when their son Valentino received a cancer diagnosis at just 10 weeks old.
Born in 2016, the infant spent more than a year in hospital fighting for his life, but, fortunately, was given the all-clear by doctors in April.
Speaking on Wednesday’s (September 5) This Morning, Jean-Christophe and Michelle opened up about their son’s cancer battle and how celebrated his second birthday after being ‘too scared’ to mark his first.
Jean-Christophe said: ‘When everyone was singing Happy Birthday you could see the [happiness] in his eyes for the first time ever, it was fabulous.’
He later described Valentino as ‘his little lion – because he was so brave.’
Michelle, who suffered from a near-fatal blood clot in her leg at the time, added: ‘It was a way to thank our family and friends for their support, they’ve been fabulous.’
When Valentino was a few weeks old, his parents found a lump on the side of his neck, which doctors later diagnosed as neuroblastoma after MRI scans showed tumours all round his neck.
As the tumours were too dangerous to operate on, Valentino was given a round of chemotherapy.
Michelle said: ‘He had tumours all around his neck, it was awful. But the chemo has shrunk that right down now…we had all been through this massive trauma journey and when we came home we found it difficult to adjust.’
Jean-Christophe added: ‘The problem having your baby when he’s six weeks old going through this experience, the only thing he had is eye contact and you could see the tears and the pain he was going through.’
When asked how they coped as parents, Michelle replied: ‘We had to split our responsibilities.
‘Jean stayed at home with our two boys and worked and I went to be by Valentino’s side. We just had to work it out from there.’
Though Jean-Christophe and Michelle were fearful when doctors increased the baby’s chemotherapy drugs because they weren’t working, the couple received the happy news that their son was in remission in April.
The couple can now look forward to their wedding, which Michelle said they hope to do soon, ‘if there’s no more drama.’
Jean-Christophe then praised the NHS for ‘doing a fantastic job,’ after which Phillip and Holly gave Valentino a birthday gift from the show – awww!
This Morning airs on ITV weekdays at 10:30 am.