X FACTOR star Joe McElderry has performed an intimate gig for teenage cancer patients including a special Sunderland patient recovering from a brain tumour.
Joe, who is originally from South Shields, returned to the North East just days after winning ITV’s Popstar to Operastar contest.
The 20-year-old met brave young people who have been fighting cancer at Newcastle’s Teenage Cancer Trust and belted out some of his hit tunes.
Among the crowd was Megan Thompson, 20, of Fulwell.
Megan was suffering from a life-threatening brain tumour which lay undiscovered until she was 18.
She underwent six weeks of radiotherapy and 24 weeks of intensive chemotherapy to wipe out the cancerous cells before being told they had disappeared.
Over the period of her treatment Megan and Joe met several times and became firm friends.
Megan said: “The tumour was the size of a golf ball at the back of my head.
“It was a hard couple of years but Newcastle unit has just been fantastic.
“It’s a place to escape and to talk to somebody who is also going through the exact same thing that you are – they feel your pain.”
Joe, who is a patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “It’s very rare that I get to come home.
“I wanted to do something special and bring my music here so I thought I would do a live lounge.
“It’s amazing to see the support when I’m home.
“It’s great around the country but it’s never better than in the North East.
“I’ve come to the unit a few times and it’s great to see them progress and see their development.
“They are a great bunch of people – inspirational. They’re the heroes of our country.”
Megan added: “It’s fantastic Joe has taken the time to do something like this.
“He’s lovely and he makes you feel like a normal teenager.
“He’s a good friend and he’s just dead down-to-earth and understanding.
“I was rooting for him on the television.”