Our life was gliding along – 10 years after my wife, Jo, was first diagnosed with breast cancer (aged 30 years) , surgery, chemo, radiotherapy, every subsequent hospital appointment, mammogram and check up attended, life resumed. We worked hard and created a beautiful life together, Jo gave back every day through her job as a social worker committed to working alongside and supporting children. She is amazing! We believed Jo was safe, and the cancer had gone. We celebrated the 10 year cancer ‘free’ goal with Jo’s 40th birthday and our amazing Wedding in Mexico! That’s us in the photo above on one of the happiest days of our life together…..
Barely 9 months later, our world came crashing down in one phone call – who knew cancer could sit dormant for years? Who knew you can go from cancer ‘free’ to stage 4 incurable breast cancer in bones and liver without any warning? No lumps or obvious signs.
Not us or anyone we know – we thought we were educated in the breast cancer world – we were in fact in the dark the whole time. We know now.
This campaign asks you to both support Jo’s unfunded NHS medical costs and crucially to raise awareness of Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Since her recent diagnosis, with dignity and determination, Jo has again sat in the high-backed chair and undergone her chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatments in an effort to fight this incurable form of cancer. However, the NHS treatments can only help to a point – a point which Jo and everyone who knows her finds unacceptable. Jo has researched, read and researched some more - there are treatments available which the NHS do not fund for people with mets in more that one place in the body.
For the liver mets there is a treatment which offers Jo great hope - SIRT - Selective Internal Radiation Therapy. SIRT is a way of using radiotherapy to control cancers in the liver that can’t be removed with surgery. It is a type of internal radiotherapy. It is sometimes called radioembolisation.
SIRT is not funded by the NHS and currently costs £35,000 approximately per treatment cycle. In an effort to raise funds in support of the treatment, Jo, her family and friends will be undertaking various fund raising events, including a run and a cycle event from Dingwall to Kilmarnock.
Jo is grateful for every day and is doing everything she can to manage this cruel disease. Of particular importance to Jo, is her wish that anyone with a diagnosis of breast cancer is informed about secondary breast cancer, to know that there are thousands of people living with secondary breast cancer, but the profile needs to be raised and more research is needed. Jo’s fund raising events will contribute a % of any monies raised to support secondary breast cancer research.