This is Jez. Up until 3 years ago Jez was a normal, healthy 22 year old. He had just began his final year of university, studying History at Bath Spa University and was looking forward to the future and life after his studies.
In October 2016, Jez was diagnosed with an extremely rare soft tissue cancer called a Synovial Sarcoma. After noticing a lump on his hand a few months prior to his diagnosis, at worst we thought it was just a cyst. We never, ever expected it to be cancer. I can remember how it literally felt like our whole world came crashing down around us as the Oncologist was telling us what was going to happen next. I can remember having to call Jez's mum and break the news to her that her son has cancer, something we never, ever thought would happen to us. I can remember crying until it felt like no more tears could possibly come out of my eyes, how was this happening to us? Why was it happening to us? My heart had broken into tiny million pieces.
Jez underwent 5 weeks of daily radiotherapy at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology centre, followed by a long and intensive operation to remove the tumour in his hand at Southmead Hospital. The surgeons were essentially going in blind as they had never seen a sarcoma in a hand before and weren't exactly sure what they could do until they opened him up. It was the longest day of my life.
In order to remove the tumour they had to take a 'flap' from Jez's foot to reconstruct his hand, they had to do skin graft from his thighs and they replaced several tendons and removed a few muscles in his hand and fingers so that he could still have some movement and function. It was a successful operation and we were told that it couldn't of gone better, they had removed all of the tumour.
Following his surgery, Jez had several months of daily physiotherapy at Southmead, for his hand and his foot. He spent 6 weeks in a wheelchair with another 4 weeks spent in a cast. We had been worrying and focussing so much about his hand we completely forgot that they would be operating on his foot as well, we weren't prepared for him not being able to walk for such a long period of time!
At the time we were living away from our families who were in Herefordshire. I was working full time and studying for my degree as a distance learner, whilst juggling taking Jez to every hospital appointment and looking after him. I was his nurse, girlfriend and mum all in one. It was incredibly tough but we got through it with the support of our friends and family, who took it in turns to come and help me after his operation so I could go back to work.
Shortly after Jez's operation, following a CT scan we were told he was cancer free. We were advised that Jez would have regular 3 month x-rays to monitor him, and once a year he would have an MRI to check that he is clear.
We have had 2 years of getting our lives back on track after it being put on hold whilst Jez got better. Jez was able to go back to Uni and finish his last year of his degree which he graduated last September with a 2:1. We moved back home to Herefordshire to be closer to our friends and family. Jez went on to study his PGCE to become a History teacher for secondary education. We got engaged last year, and have just bought a house. Jez has just started his new job as a Teaching Assistant. Life was looking up and we were so positive about our future and our lives ahead.
4 weeks ago, Jez had his regular 3 month x-ray which showed a shadow on his lung which needed to be investigated. We trundled back to Bristol for a CT Scan, which unfortunately has shown that the Synovial Sarcoma has metastasised to his lung, spine, sternum and shoulder bone. The Oncologist's have told us that all 4 lesions are small, currently under 1cm in size each, and have likely been there all this time but have gone undetected due to their small size. We are beyond devastated. We have come full circle right back to where we were 3 years ago. Our future has been taken from us yet again and we are left unsure and uncertain of anything.
They have said that Jez's cancer is incurable, any treatment they administer will just be to control and maintain the cancer as it is likely to carry on spreading. They don't want to start any treatment yet until the lesions are at least 4-5cm in size, so until then they want to continue with the 3 month check ups to monitor them.
We can't just sit and wait for them to get bigger and spread. We can't just do nothing. How are we supposed to carry on with life knowing what we know? We want to take action now.
This is why we desperately asking for your help.
We have been researching into different treatments for Jez's cancer and have found a private oncology DNA test through a company called Oncologica. They test the tissue of a biopsy, and identify genetic mutations within your DNA and match it to a FDA approved treatment/therapy to your cancer. The test costs £2,450.
This test could potentially show a lifesaving treatment/therapy that isn't available on the NHS (this would also come at a large extra cost), but could save Jez's life. We have also been researching alternative oils, which have shown in multiple studies to shrink and reduce tumours. These oils cost £1,500 a month.
We have been advised that taking these alternative oils have many other benefits to them such as reducing anxiety, relieving pain, helping you sleep better and ensuring a healthy appetite.
It is so difficult for us to ask the world for help like this, but we are desperate. We need all the help we can get and are asking you to please donate as little or as much as you can to help us save Jez. Any amount you can spare will make a huge difference. If you aren't able to donate just sharing our story will help us immensely!
Jez is my soulmate. He is my entire world. He is the kindest, warmest, most gentle person who does not deserve this at all. I won't stop until I have done everything in my power to stop this evil cancer in its tracks. I won't stop until I know I have tried everything and anything to help. Please help me to help Jez.
If you have made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read our story.