Shortly after my sister turned 35 years old this summer, she was dealt with the most devastating blow.
Arundhuti has Stage 4 Bowel Cancer – the really aggressive kind. There are drugs that can help her manage it however, they are not fully covered by the NHS and are critical to her chances of survival. In short these drugs are incredibly expensive.
All things considered, Arundhuti's 35th birthday won’t go down as one of her best.
Having been feeling unwell with a tummy ache for a few days in July 2019, Arundhuti was taken into hospital with suspected Appendicitis. Upon further investigations carried out over the next 48 hours revealed she had to have life saving emergency bowel surgery. During her time in the hospital she was given the news of her Bowel Cancer diagnosis which was at the time graded at stage 3. In addition, her post-operation recovery was very very tough and after almost 5 weeks she was allowed to come home.
Following her lengthy hospital stay, Arundhuti was told she needed to undergo fertility preservation before cancer treatment could begin. This brought about further anguish as decisions she thought she had more time over came hurtling forward like a canon ball.
As soon as the fertility preservation treatment had concluded further CT scans showed that the cancer had spread to her liver and was more aggressive than previously assessed. Giving rise to the stage 4 diagnosis and poor prognosis.
The news came as a huge shock for someone as young, healthy and strong as Arundhuti.
Bowel Cancer is extremely rare in young people. After some molecular profiling of the tumor, it was discovered that Arundhuti has a rare genetic mutation on what is known as the KRAS gene; a mutation that can cause bowel cancer in non-smokers, non-drinkers and young people. As if this was not bad enough, metastasized bowel cancer can commonly spread to the liver and lungs (not great considering how important these organs are for survival).
Arundhuti and her family (elderly Dad and sister: Urmi) have been helped by a leading team of oncologists in London. Time is of the essence for Arundhuti and her treatment needs to start now if she is to stand a decent chance of fighting for her life.
Unfortunately, Arundhuti does not have the support of health insurance and is now un-insurable. Which means she and her family will have to self-fund these drugs.
Certain trial drugs and treatments have been highly effective in preventing disease progression (and in some cases even producing a complete response) for patients with Arundhuti's type of cancer, but because these drugs are still in their efficacy infancy they are not fully covered by the NHS. So Arundhuti and her family are having to look at self-funding in order to make sure that she gets access to targeted treatment.
And that is where you can help....
This treatment is very new and is a positive step amidst a background of advanced bowel cancer treatments that haven’t increased survival significantly in the last several decades.
However, it is also very expensive – estimated costs per year are circa £100,000. This is something Arundhuti will have to take every two weeks for the the first year to see the benefits and maybe even a small miracle can appear.
Arundhuti will be monitored every two weeks, with regular scans periodically to check the progress of the tumors. Like all drugs, the cancer cells will become resistant to prolonged use. But, this is one of the most promising times in Bowel Cancer and if and when they become resistant, Arundhuti's doctors are confident there will be new treatments and trials for her to try.
Who is Arundhuti?
I don't think it is possible to be universally loved but that is Arundhuti. She is a gentle soul, kind, compassionate and loving to everyone she meets. She loves her family and friends and would do anything for them. She is the kind of person who took time off work to look after our terminally ill Mum (from cancer) 3 years ago and did the same again when our Dad had to have life saving by-pass surgery. She constantly puts everyone else first because what provides her with the most happiness is seeing others well and happy.... but now she needs your help.
At work she runs her own business and is a constant professional, holding herself and others to high standards. All her clients love her and needless to say they think she is amazing (and I am not just saying this because she is my sister).
Family and friends affectionately know her as Arun, Baz, Bazzles, Bazoonder, Tutti and a plethora of other loving nicknames.
My Dad and I need your help to pay for treatment and give my sister the best shot at extending her life. She is our world and she still has so much to live for. With your help this treatment could add to the quality and length of her life.
A huge and heartfelt thanks goes out to anybody who can help us raise funds, be it through donations, your own fundraising activities or just sharing our story.