A mum with incurable cancer is desperately fundraising to pay for a drug not available on the NHS – so she can stay alive long enough for her daughter to remember her.
Tammi Morrell-Knapton, 40, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow, in February and given roughly three years to live.
But the married mum, who has endured chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, says a treatment called lenalidomide maintenance therapy could give her up to two additional years.
Tammi wants to prolong her life for as long as possible in order to spend as much time as she can with her beloved daughter Isabella, who is five years old.
She said: “I’m scared that when I die Isabella won’t remember me.
“The time that I have with her now is so precious and I want to make it last for as long as I possibly can.
“I want to make sure I spend as much time as I can with her so she has living memories as opposed to just photos of her mum.
“The thought of death doesn’t scare me. I want to be around long enough for her to have real memories of me.”
Tammi, a police officer from Pontefract, West Yorks., said her consultant recommended lenalidomide as the best possible treatment she could receive.
However, she has to fund it herself as the drug is only available on the NHS to multiple myeloma patients who have had multiple relapses, which she has not.
Friends of Tammi set up a crowdfunding page to help pay for the treatment, which is taken in tablet form and will cost £2,450 a month.
The campaign has already raised £35,000 and Tammi began her first phase of treatment last week.
She said: “Without this treatment my chances of life are limited but with it I could enjoy another two years of life.
“It may not sound like much but it means more crucial days with my brave little girl, and my family.
“I’m asking for help so I can enjoy these precious moments.”
Tammi first noticed something was wrong in January this year when she was struck down with dreadful pain in her chest.
Within 48 hours she was bedridden and unable to move, care for herself, or do anything without assistance from her husband Nick, 45.
They visited two hospitals but were turned away.
A week after becoming ill Tammi paid £340 for a private MRI scan and she was contacted that same evening by the radiologist advising her to seek urgent medical treatment.
At hospital she was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called septic arthritis.
The MRI also showed abnormalities within her bone marrow and after a bone marrow biopsy Tammi was given the diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
She has undergone chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant but wants to continue using lenalidomide for as long as she can.
Tammi said: “I know it’s going to help, it has had good results with other people in my position who have used it.”
Due to her diagnosis, Tammi and Nick married last month, with little Isabella standing by as flower girl.
Tammi has been a police officer since 2001, starting in CID before moving into the drugs and organised crime unit.
She is currently working as much as she is able to from home.
She said: “I’d love to get back to it but I have to keep myself safe, if I catch Covid the chances are I’m going to die.”
On her fundraiser, Tammi added: “Any support which you are able to offer in helping me fundraise would be hugely appreciated as I cannot do this alone.
“The money means the world to me and my family as it gives me a fighting chance to access a treatment which is not funded under the NHS.”
Donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/raisingfundsfortammi