Please Help Cure Our Friend Elisabeth

Video appeal Norwegian filmmaker Elisabeth Rasmussen has been battling breast cancer since 2017. Together with family, friends, colleagues and other supporters, she has raised $150 000 to receive specialist treatment at one of the world's best cancer hospitals, Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer centre in New York. The University Hospital in Tromsø (UNN) had given Elisabeth up. They said surgery was impossible to perform, and could only offer her palliative care and gave her only a few more months to live.

Elisabeth defied the death sentence she got at the Norwegian hospital and with the help of the funds raised, she quickly got started on cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering. The doctors at this Cancer Center managed to isolate and shrink her cancerous tumor in her breast and perform a successful operation where they removed the tumor. This action most likely has made Elisabeth cancer-free. It’s frightening to think about what could happen if Elisabeth had listened to the Norwegian Hospitals prognosis. Maybe she wouldn’t be alive today.

The extremely competent medical team at Sloan Kettering and other cooperative specialists have made a joint assessment on Elisabeth’s case and concluded that Elisabeth now needs an urgent follow-up treatment consisting of Proton radiation, which will kill any latent microcells that can be hiding in her chest.

And why does Elisabeth specifically need Proton-radiation therapy? 

Regular radiation therapy offered in Norway has many side effects and people can´t tolerate subsequent treatment with this method. Elisabeth has already been through radiation therapy one year ago, and therefore this treatment can cause severe damage to Elisabeth´s body a second time. Proton radiation therapy is a newly developed technology and does not affect the whole body, but only works locally. Elisabeth is therefore completely dependent on getting the Proton treatment now in order to become completely healthy.

The problem, however, is that the Norwegian state will not give her the support for this essential treatment. A team of doctors at the Radium Hospital has voted "NO" for Norway covering Elisabeth´s costs of treatment in the United States. This is despite the fact that the same treatment type is not offered in Norway. A Proton Center is planned to be built in Norway in 2023. This is 3 years too late for Elisabeth. She needs the treatment now!

A huge price tag is again threatening to stop Elisabeth on her journey towards recovery. The proton treatment is estimated to cost $150,000, on top of what has already been raised.

We refuse to let go of Elisabeth. Will you help her and give her a chance to survive?



NOTE:  Elisabeth's dear friend Elena Branzburg will withdraw the money raised in this fundraiser, on behalf of Elisabeth. This is due to the fundraiser currency (USD) -  where a US social security number is needed to withdraw. Elena handles the payment to the hospital on behalf of Elisabeth. 

We raised the $88k for the original treatment  when we started this campaign. (Look at the dates for donations). The rest of the $150 needed then was covered by Elisabeths friends and family. We now need another $150k for the Protoradiation, so we left the original amount of $200 000 as the amount needed. $88 000 of this is already spent on chemo/surgery, but if we manage to raise $200 000 in total, it will leave us with $112 000 to put towards Elisabeth radiation. 




About Elisabeth
Elisabeth Rasmussen is an exceptional person – she is caring, curious, big-hearted and incredibly talented.  She is a brilliant documentary filmmaker. We wish that we were starting this Go Fund Me campaign to help her fund one of her film projects, but alas that is not what this campaign is about.  Elisabeth has Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Stage 4 and the public health system in Norway, no longer offers her the best chance to beat this terrible disease..   
 
While Elisabeth does not yet have a family of her own (though that is her dream one day), she has the biggest circle of friends around the globe, which speaks volumes about who she is.  However, the battle ahead of Elisabeth is not one that she can wage with only her friends by her side.  Elisabeth needs a broader community to stand with her at this moment.  And as her friends, we are asking you to please join that community.  Elisabeth is just too young and too good of a person for us to lose her now. 


This is Elisabeth’s story (in her own words):
On April 2017, during a film conference in Stavanger, I became aware of a strange texture in my right breast. I went to my GP in Norway and got a referral for a mammogram. In June 2017, after finally going in for my mammogram, I was told I had Stage 1 Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) by the hospital in Tromsø, Norway. I refused to believe it, and went to London. In shock, I stumbled around in denial for a couple of weeks. When I finally decided to act, I went to an English hospital for a second opinion. Sure enough, I was served up the same diagnosis as before. 
 
In September 2017, I had a mastectomy and was declared cancer free..  As you can imagine, I felt a sense of relief and excitement for the future. 

About 7 months later, while travelling to a film festival in Malaga, Spain, I again felt a lump in my right breast (and a pit in my stomach about what it could mean).  After taking a series of tests, I learned that the cancer had returned and was now categorized as Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  The next 9 months were pretty rough – 6 months of chemotherapy, another severe surgery and radiotherapy to boot. 

Finally, after spending half of the last three years in treatment, I was thrilled to hear that my test came back as "clear" in June 2019 and again in August 2019.   I jumped right back into my life with renewed purpose.  I eagerly took on new work projects, started working out and embracing a social life. 

Unfortunately, that is not where this story ends.  On the morning of December 4th, just a couple of weeks ago, a doctor called from Radiumhospitalet in Oslo. The tests I had done a few days earlier had come back showing cancer cells in my chest wall.  A couple of weeks with an insane amount of blood tests, CT-scans, MRIs, ultrasounds and biopsies has led to where I am right now. Two days ago, on the 17th of December 2019, I was told I have incurable cancer.  Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Stage 4.
 
While the good news is that it is still local to the chest area and has not spread to any other organs, the fact that my cancer has returned less than a year after I completed treatment, means that I am not eligible for many services at the public hospitals in Norway (such as trials for new drugs, etc.).  The doctor I spoke to basically said he doesn't believe I will ever be well again. The doctor said that "I should relax and enjoy Christmas, because for me time is important now… and that hopefully in the new year I can be put on immunotherapy and two new chemos that could potentially prolong my life, but only IF the biopsy that is still waiting in a lab in Oslo shows that I might be receptive to such treatment." "And if not?" I asked. "What if I’m not eligible for immunotherapy?"  The doctor didn't have an answer, but did say that nothing can be done before Christmas regardless.  I told the doctor about how quickly the cancer had spread last time and asked if time was surely of the essence that couldn't we move faster? I was not given a clear answer. It seems to me that these doctors have given up...but I have not.    

For the record I do not feel ill. I’m loving life at the moment. Since I’ve started to feel better after the last round of treatment, I’ve just been so grateful for each day – all the good things in life – the ability to work on creative projects – for every person in my life – and all the love. The support and tenderness my closest ones are showing me is so touching. The bonds between us have become so clear, it’s really beautiful.  Dickens’ words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” could not ring truer for me right now.  Also very raw and true, is the instinct that I really want to be here and be alive and well! There are still so many things I want to do, so many films I want to work on, so many causes I want to fight for. I really, REALLY want to live!

 

Donations

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  • Marisa Taylor  
    • $50 
    • 14 d
  • Thomas Giercksky  
    • $20 
    • 16 d
  • Marisa Taylor Lingobabies  
    • $32 (Offline)
    • 28 d
  • Marisa Lingobabies 
    • $26 (Offline)
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 (Offline)
    • 1 mo
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Organizer

Kari Opsal Mæland 
Organizer
Oslo, 3, Norway
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