Over the course of our lives, it’s overwhelmingly likely that we – or someone we know – will have to endure the pain of cancer. In 2014, there were 350,000 new incidences of cancer in the United Kingdom (equivalent to 980 cases a day), and around half of those who contract the disease survive it for at least 10 years.
That survival rate has doubled over the past 40 years, and that’s in part down to an improvement in cancer treatment. As effective as this treatment has proven, unfortunately there are some people who simply can’t afford the consultations and chemotherapy required to fight the disease. Back in 2015, Lisa Harris from Gateshead in the northeast of England was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and since then, she has sold her house and spent a great deal of her pension in order to pay for the treatment that she requires. Now, Lisa has ran out of money, but the support of her family may just be enough to keep her going. 26-year-old daughter Lori has joined the fight against ovarian cancer, selling her possessions in an attempt to save her mother’s life. Before her devastating diagnosis, Lisa Harris worked as a carer, but her life was turned upside down after a doctor had falsely determined the 46-year-old was suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. This led to Harris’ getting a late diagnosis, and by the time she was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, it was time for her to undergo a hysterectomy and intensive chemotherapy. As it wasn’t covered by the NHS, the treatment was extremely expensive; in order to afford it all, Harris had to sell her home for 30,000, her car for 5,000 and auctioned off the rest of her possessions (including tickets to an Ed Sheeran concert) for 10,000. Now, Lisa lives in a two-bed rented apartment in Chester-le-Street, Durham, but says losing all of her possessions will be worth it for the invaluable gift of life. “Its devastating to have to sell all I have worked for all my life to be left with only the basics, but I have no choice. As long as I am alive, the basics are all I need. The treatment is everything to me. Its a chance for a future free of cancer and to see my daughter and grandchildren grow. Its my last hope.” Initially, the treatment seemed to have worked; Lisa’s cancer went into remission, but in January this year, she was told her cancer had returned, and the only option for her at this point waspalliative chemotherapy. Looking for another answer, Lisa tracked down theHallwang Clinic, a private practice in Stuttgart, Germany, and dipped into her pension to raise 27,000 in order to start immunotherapy. The treatment seems to be working, but unfortunately, she still needs treatment every three weeks at 23,000 an immunotherapy session, and there’s simply no more money left, and nothing else for her to sell.To that end, her daughter Lori has set up a GoFundMe page in order to help get Lisa the treatment she needs in Stuttgart, 1,600 miles away, and admits she’ll never forgive herself should she fail. “Its really heart-breaking to think that the only thing stopping us from curing her cancer is money.We are hoping we will be able to raise enough money for the treatment. Ill never forgive myself if we dont. I wouldnt think twice about selling it all again. My mums life means more. The hardest thing isnt selling our belongings. Its having nothing left to sell. But we hope with the help of all of the donations coming in she will live for decades.” At the moment, the family has already generated 72,000 of a 200,000 goal that will hopefully save Lisa’s life, and the Harris family is around 4,000 away from being able to afford the next round of treatment. If you would like to donate to Lisa’s cause, you can do so here.
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