The family of a young mother with a deadly brain tumour are desperately trying to raise £90,000 to send her to America for lifesaving treatment.
Kat Charles, 34, was told she had a matter of months to live just over a year ago after NHS treatments failed to hold back the growth of the tumour.
Her condition improved after she joined a medical trial, but the treatment is no longer effective as Kat’s condition has once again deteriorated.
Kat’s only hope is an experimental procedure called DCVAX in Bethesda, Maryland, US, which costs around £150,000.
A sample of tumour tissue is cryogenically frozen and shipped to the US, where doctors create a bespoke vaccine engineered to attack the cells it has been created from.
The trial has been feted as a great step forward in the treatment of cancer
The parents need to fundraise £90,000 of the total bill and are amazed to have received £8,000 in less than 48 hours.
Jason, an events and marketing manager, said: “After the NHS said they could not do anything we were always going to look for more avenues, you can never knock a good woman down.
“Kat has coped with it all extremely well, she always has a big smile on her face and never lets it get the better of her.
“There is no room for negative thoughts in a situation like this.”
Kat, a statistical analysis, was first diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2011, after suffering a seizure while travelling with Jason in Costa Rica.
The couple, from Milton Keynes, Bucks, were flown back to the UK and discovered that the tumour was in a low grade.
It remained inactive until after the birth of the couple’s son Jacob in April 2013, after which doctors told Kat and Jason the tumour had progressed to the most aggressive stage of glioblastoma.
Following rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy Kat’s condition improved and by December 2013 the tumour had reduced significantly.
But in the following months, Kat suffered further seizures and was admitted to hospital, where she underwent major brain surgery a day before her son’s first birthday.
After several months of chemotherapy the couple were dealt a hammer blow as they were told that the NHS could do nothing else to help.
Jason added: “We were told Kat had weeks, months but not years to live so we had no other option but to explore clinical trials.
“We found two and the one that she has been on for the last 12 months has kept things stable, but now the tumour is growing again.
“The DCVAX treatment identifies the biomakers of cancerous cells and with white blood cells doctors create a vaccine.
“Doctors have said any treatment on the NHS would look to hold back the tumour, whereas the aim of the vaccine is to get rid of tumour and hopefully prevent its reappearance.”
Those who have donated to the campaign since it was launched on Tuesday night have also flooded Kat and Jason with heartfelt messages.
Jason said: “We’ve been inundated with help and support, I had to turn my phone off last night due to the amount of messages coming through.
“Lots of people have been really supportive and have come up with ideas.
“People fundraising will make a great difference, it would really help push this forward.”
To donate go to Kat’s JustGiving page