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Happy New Year everyone! I haven’t blogged for a while as over the festive period I was pretty ill with chest problems, but by the start of January, I am pleased to say things were on the up - well, that’s a bit of an understatement. Let me explain...
A year ago, I was writing my usual monthly blog about my battle with leukaemia and how life was going. As with every year, I was busy covering Dancing on Ice for stv.tv and I happened to mention how much I love the show and how I am in awe of how the celebrities and pro skaters perform gravity defying moves on ice, which I couldn’t even do on dry land. I added in that I would love to be lifted up by DOI star Matt Evers (who wouldn’t) and never thought any more of it.
Later that day, I started to notice my Twitter followers suddenly increasing and that @TheMattEvers was following me.
When I checked on my Twitter profile, I had all these messages from people saying “Matt Evers is looking for you.”
Poor Julia, who sits next to me, nearly lept out of her chair as I screamed “ahhhh, Matt Evers is trying to find me.”
Within minutes, a Tweet appeared from the heartthrob himself saying: “'Well hello Laura. My amazing followers have led me to you. Let's sort out some ice time for you.”
I think the STV office (open plan of course) thought I had gone mad as I shouted “Matt Evers is going to skate with me!” I was shaking as much as a Twilight fan would be if Robert Pattinson was to plant a smacker on their lips – to put it mildly, I was extremely excited.
I have found that since being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia back in September 2009, having things to look forward to has become really important in my life. It gives me something to work towards, and ultimately live for.
Fast forward a year, and thanks to some help from the lovely Lisa Adams at the Scottish Sun, I found myself up at 5 in the morning to set off for Altrincham for a skate with Mr Evers.
As silly as it sounds, it was actually quite emotional. I couldn’t wait to get there but I was also pretty terrified – I have only really ever skated round the Christmas rink at George Square and even then my friends laughed at me. This was going to be interesting. Plus, on the train, it did cross my mind that I really should embrace the day as what if I don’t get to enjoy something quite as special ever again. What if the cancer takes a turn for the worse?
Luckily I didn’t have time to focus on that as Matt had a magical way of taking my mind off all things morbid. Perhaps they should prescribe skating with an American hunk / hottie on the NHS? Just a thought.
When we finally arrived at the rink, after three trains, I was given a lovely pair of those sexy blue plastic ice skates. Just as I was about to put them on, Matt Evers walked through the door and there the fun began.
He was as lovely (if not lovelier), kind and caring as you would imagine. He chatted away and came over and started putting the boots on me, something which will remain forever ‘my Cinderella moment.’
Although he put me at ease, I was still petrified as a big bunch of school kids arrived just as we were about to take to the ice. Perfect.
But it didn’t matter. The next 45 minutes went by in a blur as Matt took me through how they get started on Dancing on Ice. Yes apparently all the greats begin marching (more plodding in my case) on ice, and there it began.
Up next, my fine instructor showed me how to perform ‘strokes’, do something called the lemon (or at least I think that’s what it was called) and skate backwards, plus some kind of elegant skate in a circle, which wasn’t so elegant in my case.
Despite my fears, I never fell and Matt was the perfect gent, holding my hands through all the steps till I got a little cocky and tried to go solo – luckily he was never too far away.
The highlight of my lesson was a mini routine he put together, including the infamous skate on (yes, I admit it, in my head I was imagining I was in pink lycra and sequins, ‘stroking’ on to the DOI theme tune and waving to Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean) and a lift. Yes a lift.
I take my hat off to Jorgie Porter and co. on the show: how you can let someone pick you up, spin you round, whilst trying to look elegant and then carry on with the rest of your routine, I’ll never know! You will see from the video above, I couldn’t contain my fear / excitement and there was a lovely high pitched squeal to accompany the move. So classy. But I loved it, what a feeling.
After 45 mins or so on ice, Matt gave me a huge hug and we left the rink for a chat.
He told me that his own mum had died of cancer when he was 17 and spoke of how my blog post had struck a chord. It was an emotional moment for me to hear someone I really admire say that.
Matt also spoke about how his grandfather created an ice rink for him in the back yard when he was growing up in Minnesota, and how he had basically quit skating, before Torvill and Dean said they wanted him on the show.
Clearly passionate about Dancing on Ice, he said it had changed his life and spoke of how he remains close to all his skating partners.
This year he is skating with gorgeous Hollyoaks star Jorgie Porter, who wowed the crowds with her first performance, scoring 18.5. Matt admitted he has “fallen in love” with the down-to-earth beauty and said if she keeps going the way she is, he believes she could go all the way in the competition. I truly hope so as they seem the perfect pair.
I cannot thank Matt enough for taking time out to give me my dream day and as much as this blog post may seem a little gushy, I can’t stress how much it meant to me.
The ‘n-icest day ever’ featured in the Scottish Sun today and you can watch a video montage of my skate (don’t laugh) in the video player above. Throughout this week, I will also be posting more videos of my interview with Matt, including what he thinks of BFF Denise Welch on Celebrity Big Brother and his thoughts on his ice rivals this year.
Back down to earth, and I still have plenty to look forward to, with my next charity venture taking place on Sat January 28.
It’s an evening of music, magic (literally) and crafts with the amazing Soul Foundation playing, Scottish magician-of-the-moment Ryan Davidson, raffle, DJs, cupcakes and craft sale and much more, all taking place at Sloans Ballroom Glasgow from 7.30 – 1am.
All proceeds will go to the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, helping leukaemia sufferers like me have a brighter future.
For information on the charity night or just to get in touch, email email@example.com As always, it’s lovely to hear from you. Have an ice day...