Urgent funds to save my life

“There is no doubt - you have Melanoma, and I’m afraid it is malignant”. This was the heart-breaking message I received one day after my 41stbirthday this October. How do you convey to your 2 young children that you don't have long to live and the journey is very uncertain according to the doctors?

Melanoma, also known as malignant melanoma, is a type of cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells known as melanocytes. It has no mercy;  doesn't discriminate by sex nor age. I was told that unfortunately it has spread to my lunges, kidneys and thyroid and I am in stage 4. I was told that it is fatal and that there was nothing else they could do with traditional treatments.

I have always been fit, worked hard to help my husband raise our kids and tried to live a balanced life style. According to doctors I will never see my children grow old, never see them finish school, start a career and eventually start their own families - because there is no traditional cure that are being funded by medical aids or the government in South Africa. The doctors immediately referred us to specialists, but said that we won’t be able to afford the treatment, but there may be hope. My husband and I knew we had to break the news to our two intelligent children, Alethia (14) and Ru-Andrew (9) as they would figure out that something was wrong. We are such a close family and know each other very well.  Having to tell your children that they may be losing their mother is the hardest thing. Having them slowly watch me waste away makes it even harder.

But I can’t give up - I refuse to give up!

We were referred to specialists in Johannesburg and once again we had hope as they were extremely positive about the possibility that my life could be saved. We were told that there were new, effective treatments for my kind of cancers and 70% of patients have gone into remission after treatment. The 30% lost there lives because they started the treatment too late. The new treatment is called Keytruda. KEYTRUDA is a type of immunotherapy that works by blocking the PD-1 pathway and helps prevent cancer cells from hiding. KEYTRUDA helps the immune system do what it was meant to do: detect and fight cancer cells.

The specialist looked at my husband and I and said, if you want to live, we have to start your treatment as soon as possible. Every day that we wait, lessens a positive prognosis.
The staggering truth was revealed and our hopes once again was frozen for a split second. The cost for treatment would be £5 500 per month, which is just under R100 000 per month. We were told that for this treatment to be effective, I would have to have this for two years consecutively. I may be in  remission after 6 months.  If I stop the treatment before the cancer had gone, my body may become resistant to the drug. Once I start, I have to continue, every two weeks, for two years. We would need £144 000 in total, which includes the oncologists costs as well. We were told that my life could be saved by this drug. Without this specific  treatment, I will die a horrible death!
As you can imagine, we are running down our savings. We live in South Africa, I have two jobs and my husband works 9-5 every day. He also does extra work on weekends to try to get us though the month. With this illness, I would not be able to work and we were solely going to have to rely on my husband’s income.

I have always found it difficult to ask for help - but I am terrified that I may be running out of time. I therefore beg you – please – help me raise the money for at least six months to see if it will have a positive effect, which is £36 000 and then anything additional would ensure I can continue my treatments beyond the first six months. Even the smallest donation will make a world of difference to me and help me live longer to see my children grow up.


Yours and forever grateful, Anneke Rossouw
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Andre Swanepoel 
Pinner, Greater London, United Kingdom
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