On American Idol, Simon Cowell is known as ‘Mr Nasty’ with his acid tongue and damning put-downs, but in real life he’s more ‘Mr Nice Guy’.
Cowell has just donated $160,000 to save the life of 18-month-old Sophie Atay from Gateshead in the United Kingdom.
The little girl will be flown to the Unites States for pioneering treatment at the Memorial Hospital in New York.
The multi-millionaire music mogul stepped-in after learning that her family had to raise $800,000 to pay for treatments last week after they were told their daughter was suffering from a rare form of Neuroblastoma and needed treatment within days.
Singer Alexandra Burke — who won the UK’s X-Factor last year — phoned Sophie’s mother Karine Atay, 33, to tell her that Cowell had decided to help them financially.
“Karine did not know what I was going to tell her,” revealed Burke. “So when I broke the news we were both crying — but I was crying more than Karine — she told me that she had been listening to my song Hallelluiah on the way to the hospital.
I had told Simon about the situation and that there was no time to waste because Sophie needed treatment immediately — and he decided to give the money in a second. Now, we are hopeful that Sophie will be on the flight to the U.S. today.”
The sick child had been receiving treatment in the UK but if American specialists can see her within the next week her survival chances will rocket from 20 per cent to 90 per cent.
People from all over Great Britain had pledged money to the family, but they were still $160,000 short until Cowell, 50, stepped-in.
Sophie has been diagnosed with stage four Neruroblastoma — a rare form of cancer that affects only 100 people in Britain each year.
Although she had been getting chemotherapy treatment in Britain, it became clear that she required the treatments in America to boost her chances of survival.
Her mother said: “She is my brave little soldier and without her bravery I couldn’t have stayed strong — I could explode with pride for Sophie.
My daughter is a fighter and will continue to do so — that’s why I have appealed for her.”