Throwing a smile to Lucy

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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“I’m sick of having needles stuck into me,” Lucy told them. “I don’t want to be prodded and poked any more. I want to go home…” – From ‘Throw me a Smile’ by Colleen Mortzou

If you’re looking for a different kind of gift for someone special this Christmas, or if you just want some holiday reading, I have the perfect choice.

I [not The Moodie Report] have just published a book called ‘Throw me a Smile’ and it’s very special to me.

Let me tell you why. One, it’s written by The Moodie Report Special Correspondent Colleen Morgan [Mortzou] who I’ve known since we were 13 year-old schoolkids in Christchurch, New Zealand way back in 1969 (in the picture below Colleen is second from left in the front row; I am in there too though I very much doubt you will recognise me – to enter a draw for a free copy of the book signed by Colleen, tell me which one is me via Martin@TheMoodieReport headed ‘You haven’t changed a bit’),  and who now lives on Rhodes in Greece. Two, it’s about an individual who inspired me, nothing less, to beat cancer back in 2010.


Here’s from the cover blurb: “In the summer of 2001, Lucy Mortzou was a bouncy blonde seven-year-old having fun with her family and friends in the Greek islands. By the end of that year she was hospitalised and starting the fight of her life against an aggressive and rare form of cancer.

“Throw Me a Smile is the true story of Lucy’s battle to survive, told in diary entries and personal recollections by the mother who stayed by her side – navigating life in clinics and hospitals, enduring difficult treatments, and making and losing friends in the cancer wards of Athens. This is a compelling tale of ten months that would change their lives forever, which reveals with honesty and compassion the harsh realities of childhood cancer.”

Lucy was seven years of age then. She’s now 20 (pictured below). She won that battle. Against all the odds she has grown up to be a healthy  young woman. Vivacious. Intelligent. Determined (that wouldn’t surprise you would it?). Delightful. Amazing.


Her Mum’s pretty special too and having proofed the book and edited some of it, I can also testify to the quality of Throw me a Smile. Don’t be put off by the apparently grim subject matter, every parent’s nightmare. It’s an uplifting book, a tale of courage, a tale of love.

Colleen and Lucy

Bringing it all even closer to home is the fact that Throw me a Smile has been project managed and edited by another friend and Moodie Report colleague in New Zealand, Peter Dowling. An unstoppable all-Kiwi collaboration.

It’s available from Flying Kiwi Publishing Company for UK£9.99/EUR12.60/US$14.99 plus postage & packaging (UK£3.50; Europe EUR5.90; USA/Rest of World US$9.95). A percentage of proceeds is being donated to Elpida, the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer (

Let me know by e-mail ( headed ‘Throw me a Smile if you’d like to order a copy and I’ll let you know how to proceed. I’m delighted to say that thanks to the kindness of Colm McLoughlin and Saba Tahir, Throw me a Smile has been listed by Dubai Duty Free’s books department.

I’ll let the author have the final word via a concluding exerpt from the book, which poignantly notes that while some, like Lucy, beat this disease, others do not: I was at work when Stella called. Brave perky Stella, pregnant with another baby after all she had been through with little Panayiotis. “I thought you would want to know, knowing how close you are to Smaro,” she said.

I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. I wanted to close the phone.

“Dimitri died today. Colleen, are you there? Did you hear me?”

Dimitri wasn’t the last of our friends to die. We lost Magda, Antony, Alexandro, Vasa, and other children from the hostel, from the clinic.

They have all gone. Lucy is here.

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  • I have just finished reading the book, ‘Throw Me A Smile,’An amazing story of courage and love, pain and resilience. So glad that Lucy is a brave survivor, and what a wonderful mother. Cancer, a horrible disease, and difficult for the hospital staff too when the success rate is not always what they hope it will be.
    Josie.[R.G.N.] New Zealand. p.s. I spent a few days in Rhodes about 20 years ago.