On Monday 18th March the food van for my new business, ’Last Night a Vegan Saved My Life’, was destroyed in a fire and I’ve been left with nothing. I need help urgently. Sadly, there is so much more to this story…
Most of you know that 2 years ago I lost my mother to bowel cancer, but you may not know that three months after this tragic loss I was diagnosed with the same thing, aged 30.
On Feb 10th 2017 they found a four and a half centimetre tumour lying flat on my bowel. A few weeks later they then removed 25cm of my bowel and gave me a colostomy bag. Next, I had the bag reversed and started 3 months of chemotherapy.
During this time I continued working as a dancer and model and hid my scars and weakness as best as I could. As a self-employed performer there is little to no financial help available if you get sick.
Unfortunately my story doesn’t end there. Hoping for an all clear scan after chemotherapy, our hopes were shattered. The chemo hadn’t worked and the cancer has spread to my liver.
I made a strong decision then to try alternative methods - I went vegan, stopped drinking and started taking a concoction of supplements and oils. The NHS continued to scan me and it seemed to be having a greater affect than the chemo had.
This change in lifestyle also inspired and encouraged me to open a business that I could run whilst having treatment and surgery. I have always had a strong work ethic and found it difficult working less and less with added scars and my change in appearance.
The business ‘Last Night a Vegan Saved My Life’ kept me going through the dark days; reminding me of my future with my new husband Harry.
Unfortunately, last May I was told that the cancer was still active and I now have 5 tumours in my liver, the only option was chemo and surgery. Still with doubt in my mind I made one last, and very expensive, leap of faith - travelling to Mexico for treatment.
I want to tell you that this was the answer to my prayers and that I am cured, but within a month of me returning my tumours had grown to 10cm and I had no choice but to have further chemo.
I have since undergone 16 weeks of brutal chemotherapy where I lost my hair, but it didn’t matter because my business was thriving and people don’t mind you serving burgers with short hair.
I was so pleased to be able to work during treatment and even employ some people, it was a dream come true.
The surgeons agreed to operate because of the success of the chemo so I underwent the first part of my liver resection on the 24th of Jan. I have just been discharged from hospital after the second massive operation on my liver, they have now removed a total of 70%.
I have been dreaming of coming back to my life and getting fit enough to carry on with my business, when devastatingly on Monday 18th of March, my van was destroyed in a fire at the caravan storage facility and my months of hard work - and my future dreams - quite literally went up in flames.
To avoid applying for benefits when I was forced into unemployment, I’ve now got two years of growing debts, loans and overdue credit cards. This money was spent solely on surviving the months, funding alternative treatments and investing in my business venture.
The recovery from my liver surgery has sent me to the lowest and darkest places imaginable. I’m still down there and I have now lost hope of becoming the successful food entrepreneur I believed possible. I thought ‘Last Night a Vegan Saved My Life’ would be my future, and the start of a new cancer-free me. As it is, I am plunged into a spiral of debt – at the time that I should be focusing on my recovery, and getting excited about my future.
If you can help me get through this, I’d be forever grateful.