***UPDATE WE REACHED OUR £40,000 TARGET IN ONE JUST WEEK!!!***
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO & READ TO THE BOTTOM to see what we are doing next & why we are now raising an additional £30,000 to support 3 FAMILIES WITH BLOOD CANCER via The Willow Tree Foundation (www,thewillowtreefoundation.com)
WHAT THE FUNDRAISER INITIALLY FOCUSED ON:
On the 7th December 2021 my world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with Stage 4B Mantle Cell Lymphoma, one of the rarest forms of Lymphoma and the hardest to treat, as it typically returns after going into remission. My treatment started 3 days later, as they said that it was aggressive and has already spread to my gut & I would be dead within a few months without chemotherapy.
I have however been blessed to have an advanced consultant, Dr Ruth Pettengell, looking after me via my private healthcare . She told me when I was diagnosed of a new drug called Obinuturzumab, which she had personally used with great results. As most Mantle Cell Lymphoma returns, this drug, which is currently in advance trials, already has a proven record of a 15% improvement in molecular remission (a complete clearance of the cancer). This means it changes the DNA of the cells & supports it to not return. You can read more about this research here: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhae/article/PIIS2352-3026(20)30291-X/fulltext
As Obinuturzumab is in phase 2 trial stage, it isn't a licensed drug on the NHS or with many private companies like mine, so we had to decide whether to pay £40,000 & have access to this drug for the course of my multiple cycle chemotherapy treatment.
Having not been able to work since November and not knowing when I'll be able to work again, my wife has got an additional job & our family are supporting us with our living costs. So having to find an additional £40,000 is a big challenge & blow to our already rocky road ahead, but we couldn't deny this opportunity of curing this cancer whilst also supporting the trial with more results so that it can become a free & licensed drug for others with mantle cell lymphoma.
We don't know how many cycles of chemotherapy I will need, but it will be a minimum of 4 cycles.
I have a long journey ahead of me & I'm so grateful for the support, love and guidance I have around me & my family. My consultant expects my treatment to last 6-9 months and this will include a bone marrow transplant (hopefully with my own stem cells). I will be navigating it very consciously, grasping & integrating all of the lessons along the way, with the very first being open to asking for help. An unfamiliar habit for me!
So, taking a very deep breath... I am asking that if you are able & would like to support, please donate to this fundraiser. Not only will this fund my treatment, you will ALSO be supporting all future people with mantle cell lymphoma by enabling this drug to be accessible on the NHS for free to increase remission of this type of cancer.
With all my love and gratitude.
WHERE THE FUNDRAISER IS FOCUSED NOW:
In under a week we were blown away to have raised over £40,000 from friends, family, colleagues, clients and complete strangers! Along with being overwhelmed with messages of love, support & healing. Now we want to help others who aren't in such a fortunate position of support as us, which is why the fundraising campaign has shifted gear into something much bigger than just funding my own treatment…
Macmillan research says that having cancer costs a family, on average, an additional £570 a month. Now, as I wasn’t going to be able to work, my wife got a second job to pay the bills & our family gave us money to help us pay the mortgage for the next 6-9 months whilst I would be having treatment. But many families are isolated on this journey & simply don’t have access to this type of support.
That’s why myself & Kelly, decided to set up 'The Willow Tree Foundation' to support other families who have blood cancer. Whilst many organisations like Macmillan offer financial support to people on low income – there isn’t financial support for those who are just above this income threshold, like we are. So, this foundation will not only offer financial support to those families but also the love & support of standing shoulder to shoulder with another human through their brutal journey. Taking the role of fellow travellers.
We are in the process of setting up The Willow Tree Foundation as an official charity and our website/Facebook community is nearly ready! So, we are holding the additional money in trust until this is set up and we will publicise and update you on the families who receive the funding.
Our request is now twofold;
i) For donations to this fundraiser to continue, so that we can support these additional families. We will be gifting 3 families currently living with with blood cancer, £10,000 each.
ii) To find our first 2 families to support and to go on this journey with...
The families we are looking for would:
- Be a family with a child/children living in the UK, where one member is currently being treated for a type of Blood Cancer
- Currently have an income which is NOT low enough to qualify for benefits, but they do not have the income, health insurance or savings to support them through their treatment duration
- Be willing to have their story & journey publicised to help raise future funds for other families
- Be willing to be in regular contact with myself & my family to share support, resources & experiences.
To apply to be one of these families please join our Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/thewillowtreefoundation and upload a video introducing you and your family and why you would like to be one of our first families that we walk alongside and support.
To learn more about the foundation please visit our website www.thewillowtreefoundation.com
To request any further information or for PR, please email Kelly at stellarspeakers dot com