My name is Alex, and as I celebrate my 22nd birthday I'm trying to beat a very rare and very aggressive cancer. The Chemotherapy the NHS provide hasn't worked and we've only seen growth. Immunotherapy is a treatment that has seen miraculous results for my cancer but one that isn't available on the NHS.
The costs we face for this treatment are terrifying but when the only other option is giving up I'm determined to keep myself alive. I've decided to keep positive. I will be one of the lucky ones!
If you would like to help you can donate below. I am so greatful for anything you can give.
So, back in April 2018 I noticed increasing pain in my stomach with bloating looking 7 months pregnant. After having an MRI doctors discovered a cyst attatched to my ovary.
I was busy with a job I loved becoming a bus driver and settling down with my lovely boyfriend.. and out of nowhere I found myself in hospital surrounded by worried looking doctors.
In May I had the cyst and ovary removed which weighed and measured at 30cm 5kg. Although the doctors were able to remove it, it ruptured during surgery and they noticed lymph nodes that were enlarged.
A few weeks later came the absolute worst moment of my life.
Doctors told me that the cyst was cancerous. I was in a state of shock. I just couldn't believe this was happening to me.
When I thought it couldn't get worse than that I was told I didn’t just have ovarian cancer – I had an extremely rare and aggressive strain that came with a “strikingly poor” prognosis. When I Googled the diagnosis (I dare you: Small Cell Carcinoma of The Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type) it said that I’d very likely die within the year. Those who survived beyond that didn’t fare too much better: it was also highly likely that this cancer would return – out of nowhere – and at alarming speed.
Since having 3 rounds of chemotherapy I've been through horrible side effects including hair loss. Unfortunately scans show increased growth to a left muscle, right breast, lymph nodes and omentum.
My boyfriend and I don't think we'll be able to have that baby we've always dreamt about and it's sad, but right now the priority is to concentrate on staying alive.
I'm frequently in touch with a girl from Portugal who, after a couple of years of immunotherapy, has watched her tumours reduce to a point where scans can no longer detect a single trace of the cancer.
"Where can I sign up? "
Here's the catch...
Because I have such a 'niche' cancer, this treatment isn't available on the NHS. Despite clear evidence that it might work, the drugs I need are not licensed in the uk for ovarian cancer. If I had skin cancer I'd be getting this treatment for free (damn it). So, I have no choice but to pay for the drug.
This treatment costs approximately £114,000 a year. This startling figure is just the cost for the drug and administering it – complications that may cost more are not included- And I may have to have this treatment for up to 3/4 years.
This is where I'm appealing for your help.. If we could get enough people to donate what maybe you would spend on a beer or coffee, we'd have enough to pay for a full course of treatment. Any every donation here can make a real difference, helping me get the treatment I need so I can beat this horrible cancer. Even if you can't afford to spare anything you can make a huge difference just by sharing my page.
Life is truly precious. You never know what's around the corner so make the most of everyday.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.
Alex & Family
(In the event that we raise excess money, it will be split between The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and to help others with rare cancer cases that cannot get the treatment they need via the NHS.)