Gen­er­ous gift boosts mum’s can­cer fund

Se­cret donor pro­pels ter­mi­nally ill woman near to last treat­ment hope

Weekend Herald - - News - Bay of Plenty Times John Cousins

A mum fight­ing breast can­cer was stunned by a $ 50,000 do­na­tion to­wards her last hope of treat­ment from an anony­mous Auck­land woman.

“I was numb for days that some­one could do­nate that amount of money,” Tau­ranga’s Tracey Pay told the Bay of Plenty Times.

A Givealit­tle page started by Pay’s friends re­ceived the stun­ning in­jec­tion of cash via a lawyer. Sud­denly her fundrais­ing goal of $ 100,000 for a course of an un­funded can­cer drug looked achiev­able.

“It gave me hope. I said, ‘ yes, we can do this’.”

Pay, a sin­gle mum with t wo tal­ented young sons, was on the verge of run­ning out of Phar­mac- funded treat­ment op­tions for can­cer that be­gan in the breast and spread to other parts of her body.

Now she has less than $ 10,000 left to raise in or­der to af­ford a 10- month course of the drug Kad­cyla, which com­bines chemo­ther­apy with Her­ceptin to of­fer two chances of killing can­cer cells.

The $ 50,000 do­na­tion came days af­ter her story was told by the Bay of Plenty Times and the New Zealand Her­ald.

Since then, fundrais­ing ef­forts by Tau­ranga friends and fam­ily and friends in her for­mer English home­town of Bod­min have boosted the amount to more than $ 90,000.

“I can’t be­lieve the gen­eros­ity of peo­ple — there are such lovely peo­ple out there.”

Pay said she had in­cur­able can­cer and the cur­rent treat­ment was just keep­ing her go­ing.

“Peo­ple think I look well but I hide a lot of it.”

The 48- year- old said all the harsh chemo­ther­apy treat­ments had failed to slow the ad­vance of the can­cer into the ster­num, pec­toral mus­cle and lung.

Her cur­rent free Gem­c­itib­ine treat­ment was about giv­ing her a qual­ity of life rather than quan­tity, and she was fer­vently hop­ing that her next three­month check next week would re­turn an­other “sta­ble” re­sult.

It meant Pay could post­pone the day when she had to start pin­ning her hopes on Kad­cyla, the treat­ment op­tion rec­om­mended by her on­col­o­gist.

Her dear­est wish is to con­tinue to be the num­ber one fan of her sons Char­lie and Ge­orge who play in school and rep hockey teams. Rain or shine, she is al­ways on the side­lines.

Pay said once she com­pleted 10 four- week cour­ses of Kad­cyla, fu­ture pre­scrip­tions were free.

The hitch was that she would still have to find an ad­di­tional $ 3000 for each monthly in­fu­sion of the drug in a pri­vate hos­pi­tal. Pay said she in­tended to fight to get the in­fu­sions done free in a pub­lic hos­pi­tal.

Peo­ple in her for­mer English home­town or­gan­ised a char­ity auc­tion in a lo­cal pub and raised $ 31,000 for her treat­ment. Friends and fam­ily in Bod­min were hop­ing to even­tu­ally raise $ 38,500.

Six Kiwi friends had so far raised just over $ 10,000, led by a quiz and silent auc­tion night. Cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship of ta­bles and do­nated prizes made it a very suc­cess­ful event.

Pay was sup­port­ing the pe­ti­tion by Me­ta­vivors, a Face­book sup­port group of women whose breast can­cers had metas­ta­sised into other parts of their bod­ies.

They are cam­paign­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to start fund­ing Kad­cyla and other un­funded can­cer drugs.

Tracey Pay

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