Carol Player, a mother and grandmother of three-year-old twin boys, from Streetly, near Sutton Coldfield, in the West Midlands, is desperately trying to raise another £80,000 for potentially life-saving cancer treatment, that is helping to shrink her tumours.
Carol (57), who has ocular melanoma, a rare form of eye cancer that affects just six in one million people each year in the UK, was left devastated last year when the NHS cancelled her specialist cancer treatment due to COVID-19.
The highly effective treatment, known as chemosaturation therapy, allows the targeted delivery of chemotherapy drugs in patients whose cancer has spread to their liver.
Unfortunately, because the procedure is still only at the clinical trial stage in the UK, with most cancer clinical trials cancelled during the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, there is no NHS funding for the treatment.
Instead, Carol was told by doctors that it was “sink or swim” and there was nothing they could do, she would have to find the money to pay for the treatment privately herself – at a cost of up to £160,000 for a course of four treatments (£40,000 per treatment).
“Our hopes were dashed, and I was in floods of tears. I felt devastated and thought my life was over. Unless I can raise the money to pay for the treatment privately, I will die. All I could think about was how are we going to afford this?”
Left to pay for her own treatment, Carol cashed in her pensions and her son, Adam Player, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the ground-breaking therapy.
The family have managed to fund two chemosaturation treatments at a cost of £80,000 with the help of donations from friends, family and generous members of the public who’ve read about her plight.
The results of the treatments, so far, are extremely encouraging. After her first treatment, three of the tumours on Carol’s liver disappeared completely, and the other four tumours shrunk. Carol’s latest scans reveal the four tumours have got smaller again, and everything is stable, with doctors very pleased with her progress.
“I’m delighted with the results from my treatment so far. It is working for me and I now have a low level of the disease in my liver. We’ve come so far on our journey, but we need to raise more money so that we can pay for the full course of treatment.”
“I’m not ready to die yet,” she adds. “I’ve got two young grandsons to live for and I’m determined to stick around for as long as possible to watch them grow up. I AM continuing to fight this and I WILL remain positive in order to beat this awful disease.”
Mary Smith, Novum Law’s patient safety expert, based in our Bristol office, is supporting Carol and other cancer patients, whose potentially life-saving treatment was cancelled due to COVID-19. Mary says:
“There are often limited treatment options available to people with rare cancers, such as ocular melanoma. That is why innovative therapies, like chemosaturation therapy, are so important. They represent a lifeline for patients, like Carol.
“To have that lifeline taken away is truly terrifying for cancer patients and their loved ones. To know that you can access treatment, but only if you find between £160,000 and £240,000, is a horrendous position to be in.
“With World Cancer Day this week, it’s vital that we raise awareness of the plight of the millions of cancer patients in the UK and worldwide, whose lives have been put at risk or tragically cut short, due to COVID-19-related cancellations and delays to cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.”
“I would really like to thank Mary Smith at Novum Law for her continuous support and to everyone out there who continues to support me on my journey. I need possibly two more treatments. If you could all please keep posting and sharing my story it will be very much appreciated. Thank you all.”
If you would like to make a donation to Carol’s fundraising page, please visit https://uk.gofundme.com/f/carol039s-story