Meet my twin sister Maria: This beautiful 43 years old who is the loving wife to Stathy and mother to only child Elana (4 years old girl) which are her world. Her greatest gift in life was marrying her gorgeous husband in 2011 and then a year later she had a precious gift – daughter Elana who brought them both so much joy. But at the peak of married life, motherhood and planning for baby#2 she received the shocking news the lump on her breast was cancer in November 2015.
Maria was diagnosed with the most aggressive breast cancer, Triple Negative which does not have any of the three receptors commonly found on breast cancer cells – the oestrogen, progesterone and HER2 receptors. Only 15% of breast cancers are triple negative, which makes it rare and harder to treat. Over a 9 month period she endured lumpectomy surgery to remove a 3cm tumour and 8 lymph nodes, surgery to insert a portacath, 5 months chemotherapy and 7 weeks radiotherapy.
By November 2016, she returned to work and planned a trip to Europe to rebuild family memories however she then started enduring severe pain in her back, chest, shoulder and arm which she decided to investigate before going overseas in 3 months’ time. After weeks of tests such as bone scans, MRI, CT scan, PET scan she got every cancer survivors worst nightmare – Cancer has returned! Not only was it in her chest wall, chest nodes but now lung and liver which has resulted in now Stage 4 - Metastatic Cancer and not curable.
May 2017, she was immediately referred to a clinical trial and waited 4 weeks to start as she had to undergo extensive test and scans to be eligible. She finds out on day 1 of treatment day that she could no longer be eligible in this trial which gave her 66% chance of getting Keytruda (immunotherapy drug) on a randomised blinded global trial along with chemotherapy. Results from UK arrive that morning showing her tumour sample had a tiny response to PR (Progesterone Hormone) and therefore she was no longer classified as 100% triple negative cancer.
So Maria and her husband rushed to consult her original Oncologist the same day who managed to get her started on chemotherapy the following day.
This time round the journey to recovery will be much longer as chemotherapy + immunotherapy treatment could last up to 2 years. This means extensive pressure for her husband to work, raise Elana, maintain mortgage repayments, household expenses and household duties.
For those who know Maria, she is a fighter and determined to beat this battle as she has too much to live for and believes miracles can happen. She wants to start taking what they call the “Miracle Drug – Keytruda” which is not available on the Australian Government PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) therefore needing to self-fund the treatment. This is her only hope for a cure so she can enjoy life again with her husband, daughter, extended family and friends.
She has changed her diet to purely organic along with natural remedies and even given up her favourite treat “Lindt Mocha” (people from her work will laugh as that was her daily morning routine).She is serious about doing everything she can to improve her outcome.
Your support and generosity will go towards Maria’s self-funded treatments for Keytruda drug which will cost AUD $10,000 every 3 weeks and possibly up to $350,000 for 2 years treatment along with ongoing medical cost and awareness campaigns for triple negative cancer.
We are trying to eliminate any financial stress on the family as they need to stay strong and positive during this difficult time.
Thanking you in advance
- John Ventoura
- George Doreen Boutsalis
- Peter & Georgina Giannopoulos
- Roula Evangelinos
- Gail Laverick
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