Thousands of people diagnosed with cancer in the UK are turning to crowdfunding to pay for potentially life-saving medical treatments that are not available on the National Health Service (NHS).
Crowdfunding is a practical way for friends, family and the community to come together and help as well as providing a lifeline for people by giving them access to pioneering treatments when they’ve been given a cancer diagnosis.
In 2016 over £4.5 million was crowdfunded by the JustGiving community to pay for private or overseas cancer treatments, including proton-beam therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplants.
Funds were raised for more than 2,300 people in need in 2016 for private treatment in the UK, the United States, Mexico, Germany, Czech Republic and many other specialist cancer centres around the world.
Liz Sheppard, a mother-of-three who was given just months to live is responding to cancer treatment after raising money through crowdfunding to pay for immunotherapy at a private centre in London. Immunotherapy is not available on the NHS for the very rare type of cancer 36-year-old Liz has but thanks to the generosity of more than 1500 people, Liz is being treated by Professor Justin Stebbing at the London Oncology Centre (LOC). She has had multiple courses of the immunotherapy drug - called nivolumab - costing approximately £5,000 to £6,000 every two weeks.
Four-year-old Millie McColl was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma - where it spreads to distant lymph nodes, tissue, bones, bone marrow and/or other organs. After an intense programme of treatment at Glasgow’s New Royal Hospital for Sick Children she managed to beat the disease back into remission. Neuroblastoma has an extremely high rate of relapse in children with up to 80 per cent of children given the all clear seeing the disease return within two years and so Millie’s parents crowdfunded for a preventative treatment called DFMO which is only available in the USA.
52-year-old David McLean was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma - a very dangerous and aggressive form of brain cancer. His family are raising money for private immuontherpy treatment in London, which will cost £350,000.
Two-year-old Eliza has severe stage 4 Neuroblastoma, her family are raising money for treatment in Germany.
Mark, a father of four has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is seeking treatment in Germany to improve his prognosis.