A SINGLE mum from York who is battling cancer is set to stage a variety show with a little help from her friends to raise funds for a charity that’s close to her heart.

Julie Blackburn, 50, who is mum to ten-year-old Henry and lives in Bishopthorpe with her son and their dog, Monty. Julie has secondary breast cancer; after initially being diagnosed back in 2015, she was diagnosed with stage 4 in 2018.

The Press first reported Julie’s story in March last year when she and her friends sent gifts to NHS staff, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, Julie, who works as an independent consultant for The Body Shop, is channelling her love of all things musical theatre in to organising a family variety show to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Julie said: “Friends always say “I’m here if you need me”, so I’ve asked some of them to help me put together a variety show called The Sunshine and Happiness Show in June this year.

“It’s a old style variety show and all proceeds are going to Cancer Research UK.

“I simply wouldn’t be here without research and support and medical advances.

“My cancer is in my bones and the chemotherapy drug I’m on at the moment, palbociclib, keeps me stable. I take it in tablet form and it means I don’t have to go in to hospital anywhere near as often as I would otherwise.

“I always say ‘cancer lives with me, not that I’m living with cancer’.”

Julie says she still has her treatment at York Hospital oncology department and can’t thank the staff there enough.

“The show is a way of helping Cancer Research UK as, like all other charities, their fundraising has hit hard by Covid,” said Julie.

The show at The Joseph Rowntree Theatre will include performances from the Rowntree Players, NE Musicals, Flying Ducks Youth Theatre and local talent, magician, Josh Benson will be performing and compere.

Julie said: “I’d like to thank everybody who’s involved. It’s going to be a great family show and I’m dedicating it to my two aunties, Jane Mantle and Pam Davies, and my friend, Emily Nicholson all of whom died of cancer.”

There will be performances on June 9, 10 and 11 with a 2pm matinee on the Saturday and 7pm shows on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Tickets cost £12 with a family ticket for two adults and two children costing £35.

They go on sale on April 8. To book call the theatre box office on 01904 501935 or email josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk