Amazing fundraising campaign gives Caroline fresh hope
A woman who is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer has been moved to tears by a remarkable online campaign which has raised more than £40,000 in just four weeks to fund life-saving private treatment for her.
Mother-of-two, Caroline Roberts, who lives in Queniborough, hopes the medication will prolong her life to her 50th birthday in February and many years beyond.
The money will pay for chemotherapy targeted therapy tablets which can reach all parts of the body but which are not available through the NHS.
More than 1,000 donations have already taken the total raised to more than halfway to the £75,000 target with money being pledged by not only family and friends but by strangers in different parts of the world.
Caroline told the Melton Times: “I spent the first few days after the fundraising was launched in tears.
“It’s not just the money which has been donated, it’s the kind and supportive words people have used.
“I am thankful for every single donation and it is mindblowing to see lots of foreign names on the page from all over the world with quite a few from the USA.”
Caroline, who worked in administration at Melton’s Latham House Medical Practice for around 15 years, has been married to Chris for 28 years and the couple have a son, Max, and a daughter, Alice, who are both aged in their early 20s.
Her world was shattered in January 2019 when she was diagnosed with stage four non-small cell lung cancer which soon she was told had spread to an eye, shoulder, spine, and lymph nodes.
Caroline and her family were devastated as she went from a fit and healthy woman to a terminal and palliative cancer patient in a matter of weeks.
“When the diagnosis was confirmed it turned my life upside down - my first thought was ‘how do I tell my children?’,” she recalled.
She tried two forms of medication in early 2019 as doctors attempted to stabilise the cancer growth and reduce the tumours but they were not wholly successful.
Radiotherapy treatment followed and then four cycles of a combined therapy including chemotherapy and immunotherapy which stabilised the tumours.
Caroline has been treated at Leicester Royal Infirmary throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which has added further stress to the trauma of dealing with her condition.
She said: “I have been shielding so going to the hospital each time was my only trip out of the house - I had to attend all appointments alone and it has been terribly scary.”
In June, Caroline got the awful news that scans showed a progression in all of her pre-existing tumours, including the one on her lung which had doubled in size.
Her oncologist told her that treatment options on the NHS were running out but that there was a chemotherapy targeted therapy tablet, Osimertinib, which can reach all areas of the body.
However, it was not available to her through the NHS and would £7,100 a month plus more than £1,000 more for monthly blood tests, appointments and scans.
That was when it was decided to launch the online fundraising campaign, which took off so quickly that it was ranked in the top 10 Go Fund Me pages in the world.
Caroline, who uses a wheelchair outside of her home, had to give up her job as practice manager at Silverdale Medical Centre, at Thurmaston.
She has worked in the NHS for nearly 30 years and is bitterly disappointed that she has had to seek private treatment to save her life.
Caroline added: “I would not be doing this if I did not believe this was my last chance of reaching my 50th birthday.
“I hope to be able to start the treatment at the end of this month thanks to the kindness of people who have donated their money.”
Her friend, Jason Gallagher, commented: “Caroline is such a warm person who would do anything for anyone.
“This has been so cruel. And happening during the pandemic has robbed her of the chance to make memories. We are grateful for any donations people can afford.”
Go to www.gofundme.com/f/carolinescancerfight?sharetype=teams&member=5049882 to contribute to the fundraising campaign for Caroline.