Guests at Monday’s Chai Cancer Care dinner were in tears as kosher caterer Jason Millan praised the support Chai had given to his late wife Nikki, who died last week.
Mrs Millan, 43, had been due to speak at the Lancaster Hotel event, which raised nearly £1 million, introducing the appeal video based on her story and the assistance received from Chai. The film followed the Elstree mother-of-two over a three-month period. Speaking to camera in her final days, she said: “The knowledge that the support is there for everybody is a comfort.”
“It was going to be Nikki standing here, not me,” Mr Millan told the 480 guests. “She wanted as many people as possible to see what Chai had done for her.
“Showing this film tonight, as raw as it might be, is a tribute to her.”
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks also addressed the gathering, recalling his treatment for cancer more than 20 years ago. “Twice a brilliant surgeon saved my life,” he said. “I’m here to tell the tale — not all are so lucky.” Praising Chai as “a living source of hope”, he said its main Hendon centre was “absolutely astonishing — a leader in its field.”
Chai is currently helping more than 1,700 people across the country through counselling and therapy. Around 40 per cent of clients are family and friends of cancer patients. It receives no statutory funding and charity chair Louise Hager stressed the need to expand its child and teenage services.“In this challenging economic and uncertain climate, [Chai is] dependent on donors.”