Hello We feel like now is the time to share our story. On the 31st July 2020 My wife Kerry was diagnosed with stage 4 RCC (kidney cancer) a 14cm tumour wrapping around her left kidney, this had also invaded her inferior vena cava (the most important vein in your body that leads to your heart) which caused a thrombus (blood clot) which she required blood thinners for a whole year for as well as lymph nodes in her chest and bronchial tube.
She always needed an operation to remove her left kidney and the tumour, as well as the tumour invading the IVC. However this was unable to happen unless her tumour had reduced in size, so she began her first round of immunotherapy and chemo drug combination. On the first set of results we received she had an amazing response in her chest and her kidney tumour reduced slightly and became mushy which indicates it was dying! We was over the moon. She continued this treatment for 9 months everything remained stable and the chest was still responding incredibly almost 80% gone. Despite all of this Kerry still needed a life saving operation to remove the huge tumour and her kidney, but due to Covid this had unfortunately been delayed 3 months.
After a long wait the news broke that we had been given an operation date, we knew this wasn’t going to be easy and it came with a 10% chance of death. However this needed to be done no matter what to give Kerry the best chance at surviving. Without this operation her life expectancy would dramatically decrease.
The day came the 21st April 2021, the operation was a lengthy one it took 6 and a half hours. She lost 3 litres of blood (75% of your total blood), she had 3 blood transfusions on the operating table as well as a platelet transfusion. Without all these incredible people donating blood she would not be with us today this is what saved her life that day. She came out of the operating theatre and for 3 months was recovering alongside her family. In this time she was off treatment which was worrying whilst she was recovering from her operation.
After the 3 months she had a further scan and luckily everything had remained stable apart from one small nodule on her lung. However we did receive some bad news that on the removal of the tumour they had discovered that it had sarcomatoid features indicating it was an aggressive form of kidney cancer. After seeing the nodule appear on the lung they decided to get her back onto treatment. This time it was a double immunotherapy, which is meant to be one of the most successful treatments for kidney cancer.
Kerry was due four infusions, however she only managed two before developing severe colitis. Meaning she had to be hospitalised for a week and put on steroids and a intravenous infusion to correct this. Her treatment was stopped temporarily to try and take the inflammation on her colon down.
On Kerry’s most recent scan on 20th July 2021 whilst she was still off treatment, which her oncologist decided to do early due to slight swelling on her legs and some abdominal discomfort. It was discovered that she had a further spread into her liver, abdomen, chest/lung and inferior vena cava. As you can imagine this has completely broken us as a family and it was so unexpected considering the previous scans leading up to this one everything had remained stable. We received this news after an amazing family holiday in Cornwall where she was at her healthiest since pre diagnosis, happy and not even thinking about cancer just having fun with us as a family.
After the phone call with our oncologist she quickly changed her treatment to a combination drug, which blocks the blood supply and protein to the tumours. This was sent out within two hours by courier to our house, which she later started that evening.
After this news we realised that treatment options were becoming limited and we needed to take the matter into our own hands. We knew about this treatment called ‘Dendritic cell therapy’ from when she first got diagnosed back in 2020 as we was of course doing our research into treatment options.
Dendritic cell therapy is a bespoke treatment for each individual patient that works with your own immune system to fight cancerous cells. It’s a very complicated treatment to explain but in simpler terms, they create dendritic cells using your own blood and grow these alongside the cancer cells from your body in a lab. Which is then made into a vaccine, which is injected back into your body with the dendritic cells already fighting the abnormal cells, which continues and stimulates the immune system to attack the cancer itself.
This will be over a course of around 3 months, with the first stay being for 8-10 days, and then every 4-5 weeks for 2 days. This treatment isn’t available on the NHS and is going cost around £50,000 and is completely self funded. Like all treatments this isn’t guaranteed to work and comes with a 20-40% chance of working. However the success stories from this treatment are like no other, people have gone from a few months to live to complete remission. Kerry has responded to immunotherapy in the past which makes her a good candidate!
We have to try everything because at 37 years old, she has plenty of life to live and we need your help to give Kerry the best possible chance at getting to remission. We are fully aware that it has been a tough year for everyone, so any donation big or small will be hugely appreciated in our goal towards £50,000 to get Kerry to Germany to start this dendritic cell treatment.
Thank you to everyone for your support over the past year and thank you for taking the time to read our story
All of the funds will be used to fund Kerrys Dendritic cell treatment. If anything is left over this will be used for further treatment or anything that will benefit along Kerry’s journey. Myself Ryan & Kerry have opened a bank account where all the money will be stored and which we will both have access to for treatment only.
Here is the link to some information on dendritic cell treatment if you would like to have a further read: