A few people have reached out to let me know they've had problems sending money via GoFundMe. If you want to help via a different service, here is my partner's PayPal: paypal.me/jasmineblackmore. Thank you again!
Recently I went to my small local hospital in Berwick-upon-Tweed because of severe, excruciating pain. The doctor there suspected the problem was cancer, so he immediately had me transferred to a big hospital in the city nearest to me, Newcastle, where his suspicions were confirmed and I was indeed diagnosed with cancer. Once I was at the big hospital, I entered inpatient treatment. At first, the doctors thought I didn't have cancer, that it was actually just an infection or something, easily treated with antibiotics. They were very incorrect. Blood samples taken confirmed the high likelihood that I had a cancerous tumor and a resulting infection, not simply an infection. So, the doctors were partially correct, but mostly they were very, very incorrect. It was a lot of ups and downs in quick succession. First I was told I ~probably~ have cancer, then I was told, no, it's probably not actually cancer, don't worry about all that, and finally I was told, yes(!), I definitely do have cancer, and we need to operate NOW.
All told, I stayed at the hospital for about a full week. During that time, I underwent a major surgery to remove the tumor. The good news: Surgery was successful! No more tumor!
The bad news: There is a fair chance the cancer has spread from its probable origins in the operated-upon, now-removed tumor. There is a non-negligible chance that I have cancer elsewhere in my body. My partner and I are very worried about the possibility of further surgeries, plus chemotherapy and other treatments. I would prefer to not specify the exact *type* and *location in my body* of this cancer, simply because it is quite personal information and I don't want people's perceptions of me to be tinged by it. I'm honestly really worried about this social/interpersonal aspect of my illness. Suffice it to say, the symptoms of this cancer have caused and continue to cause me, in addition to physical agony, indescribably disaffecting gender dysphoria.
For the hospital stay, surgery, and outpatient services I need, my cost has been estimated at an approximate £6,300 (low estimate) to £7,000 (high estimate). It really depends on how many outpatient appointments I need and whether new tests are necessary after the results of this histology report are returned. However, if there are complications resulting from the surgery or if the worst is true and the cancer has spread, then the cost will be much, much more than this. Hopefully that won't happen.
The reason this is so expensive is because I am not a UK citizen or legal resident. I am a US citizen visiting the UK, so I get charged. On the other hand, this is also why my healthcare costs have been relatively inexpensive compared to what they would be if I was getting treatment in the US. Give and take, I guess.
Due to my physical disabilities and psychiatric illnesses, I have not been able to work for over a year now, which means I have had no way to afford housing. Before a few months ago, I had been surviving through prostitution — which in my experience as a childhood sexual abuse survivor is a very similar experience to serial rape. I feel very fortunate to have escaped that and I genuinely do not know whether I could force myself to ever do it again, even if I had no other choice. I genuinely might rather die than continue getting raped in exchange for basic necessities. The reason I was able to escape prostitution was: I was able to stay for a few months with a friend after escaping several months domestic and sexual abuse. Without his help, I would have been homeless, just as I already had been the year prior. Then, as time was running out to find another place, I still didn't have enough saved for rent in my own place, but! I came out as a lesbian, found a loving partner, who lives in Britain, and decided with her that we would live together at any cost. Fortunately — and surprisingly! — that cost was actually far, far less than the cost of rent in the US. My parents were willing to help me pay the few hundred dollars for a cheap plane ticket to Britain. I have been living with my partner since 30 August 2018 and I have never felt happier and generally-less-suicidal in my adult life! She is able to provide the basics for us, all we really need, out of her student loans, while she attends university full-time, so I haven't needed to prostitute myself while I've been here and, even better, I've been able to heal from much of the sexual trauma I suffered over the last 5 or so years before August.
I don't believe I can adequately emphasize how much I need to return to the UK to be with my partner. That's probably the only reason I would EVER consider doing any form of sex work ever again. But I really really don't want to be forced to make that decision. The generosity of my friends and my partner's family are the only things keeping me from surviving off prostitution again or outright dying from a refusal to continue getting sexually exploited and abused. The situation is becoming untenable, to say the least.
A flight back to the US will be approx. £400. The cost of subletting rent for 3 months in the US, at least everywhere I've looked, is a minimum £1,500. (Update: Fortunately, it seems likely that I will be able to find temporary housing for free.) The cost of a flight back to the UK in September will be another approx. £400. Finally, the cost of a visa, from what my partner and I have found and been told via the UK Home Office, will be well over £1,000.
We have already received donations from some of our closer friends equaling £530. But this won't be enough to cover very much. For this reason, I'm publishing this fundraiser and setting my goal at £8,100.
This goal honestly feels so high as to be unreachable. But I want to believe it is possible. I'm hoping for a small miracle. If I can only get past this hurtle, my partner and I, together, should be able to sustain ourselves on our own. We just need me to not die in the meantime, and I don't want to be homeless or serially abused ever again as a means of subsistence. I want more than anything to survive cancer and to return to my partner as soon as possible and to live out my life in lesbian joy and prosperity with her.
Please, please help us. Thank you. <3
- Nicola Pollock
- Alex Lowenstein
- Lee Fillion
Organizer and beneficiary
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