“My cheeks hurt from laughing after seeing Peter,” says Laura. She is one week away from a ten-day course of intense daily radiotherapy at The Christie, a cancer hospital in Manchester. “He comes here and he is part of the family. I forget he’s famous until we go to the pub and people recognize him. Someone nearly choked on a chip once when they saw it. Peter makes no conscious effort to be funny with us but he’ll take the mickey and that’s great. He helped us at times when we really needed it.
Her father, Mark, 59, a film and TV screenwriter who had worked with Kay, recalls: “He sat down here just a few weeks ago to talk to us about his plans for comeback shows. and said, ‘I don’t know if anyone will remember me.’ We told him he was a national treasure, of course they would. They were right – Kay’s ticket presale website crashed last Thursday. His concerts for Laura, last year, sold out, raking in tens of thousands of pounds.
While the family enjoyed a Christmas meal with the stand-up last year, Sunday’s celebratory dinner with the family was bittersweet. Mum Nicola, 52, explains: “The first Christmas after Laura’s diagnosis, she was really bad. When we found out the tumor had come back and needed more treatment, I knew we had to do Christmas early. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to be seated around the table on Christmas Day either.
Laura has pulled everything from life since her diagnosis, graduating with a 2:1 degree in politics, philosophy and economics from the University of Manchester this summer, completing the Great North Run and crossing off a list of dozens of activities, including driving a monster truck and a subway train, crossing the equator, meeting stars like Michelle Obama and, most recently, staying in a suite at The Savoy Hotel, London, and watching England in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.