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Melissa Curtis raised £22,552.4 from 549 supporters

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Closed 14/08/2018

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£22,552raised of £20,000 target by 549 supporters

    Weʼve raised £22,552 to pay for life saving Immunotherapy treatment for Lymphoma not funded by NHS

    Funded on Tuesday, 14th August 2018

    What is crowdfunding?

    Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you're not a registered charity.

    The page owner is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.

    Story

    Melissa is a 38 year old mum of two, a wife, an arts centre manager, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a friend, a tough cookie. She's also been fighting cancer for sixteen months; here's the story so far.

    In September 2016 Melissa took herself to the GP as her face was swelling inexplicably; an X-ray and CT scan later and Lymphoma was diagnosed at Southampton University Hospital. A 12cm mass in her chest on the mediastinum was restricting blood flow through the superior vena cava which was causing the swelling and ultimately attempting to suffocate her. A biopsy discovered that this was no ordinary type of Lymphoma, which is usually labelled Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin, but an extremely rare mixture of the two known as Grey Zone.

    Chemotherapy began, hair was shed, many hours were spent connected to drips, sat in waiting rooms and visiting various consultants and health professionals. Six cycles later the tumour was shrinking and Radiotherapy was scheduled to get rid of the rest of the mass. In January 2017 Melissa was fitted for a Radiotherapy shell to keep her clamped in place during the sessions, was tattooed with little black dots so that the lasers lined up each time. The day of the first session arrived in February 2017 and a scan ahead of the treatment revealed that the mass had grown and Radiotherapy was halted.

    Next came more Chemotherapy; a harsher regime that was administered as an inpatient over 3-4 days in hospital. Although Melissa had tolerated the original Chemotherapy well, these three cycles made her feel very poorly. The intention of the treatment was to get her into remission so that an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant could be carried out. Stem Cells were painstakingly harvested in May 2017 over several daily visits to hospital; remission was never reached following the second regime of chemo, it was just temporarily stabilising the tumour and so Radiotherapy was back on the agenda.

    Twenty fractions of Radiotherapy were given Mon-Fri through mid June/mid July 2017. Many more hours sat in waiting rooms, laid on treatment tables, hoping for the best.

    The hope was that Radiotherapy would put Melissa in a position to be given a Bone Marrow Transplant. A 10/10 match was found and the procedure scheduled for the end of October 2017. Again, the tumour had only been stabilised temporarily during Radiotherapy; after treatment had finished a PET scan exposed that this aggressive disease had begun to grow again and was spreading south to the pancreas and kidneys. Bone Marrow Transplant shelved; Clinical Trials recommended.

    The first Clinical Trial was halted on the day Melissa was due to start screening due to neurological problems in some of the trial's participants. A second Clinical Trial was found in Oxford at The Churchill Hospital and the screening process for that began November 2017.

    Towards the end of November Melissa was noticing the return of the swollen face that prompted her presentation to the GP at the beginning of the story; another scan was carried out and a couple of days later a call was made for her to urgently attend hospital. She was told that the mass was pressing on the valve where blood enters the heart and their concern was that it could stop working at any time. Southampton were unable to offer any further treatment and the Clinical Trial in Oxford was the only viable option left. She was advised to give up work and prioritise the time she had left. Although she was given the option to know how long they thought she had left, Melissa opted not to know.

    At the beginning of December, after feeling mostly well throughout the previous fifteen months other than treatment-related malaise, Melissa was admitted to hospital after a couple of episodes of passing out, symptomatic of her condition and an indication that the doctors' prognosis was accurate. The Clinical Trial screening was fast tracked and an ambulance ride to Oxford later, all hopes for recovery were being pinned on the trial Immunotherapy drugs. One of the screening factors is Haemoglobin levels and unfortunately Melissa was too anaemic to join the trial. The team at Oxford were frustrated but had to refer her back to Southampton defeated. After 10 nights in hospital, IV infusions of fluids, constant heart monitoring and steroids, the tumour had seemed to stabilise and the episodes had stopped. She had a frank conversation with one of the doctors who didn't expect her to make Christmas prior to her admission.

    In an attempt to continue stabilising the tumour, more Chemotherapy was prescribed and the first cycle was given 20 December. Christmas was spent at home and was all the more special given that she wasn't expected to finish opening her advent calendar.

    2018 arrived along with an optimistic Melissa who had her second round of Chemo in the New Year. An X-ray ahead of this week's scheduled third cycle shows that it seems to be just buying time and not dealing with shrinking and destroying the tumour.

    Melissa is confident that Immunotherapy will be successful in fighting this disease for good; as Clinical Trials are unavailable at present and this treatment is not available on the NHS for her type of cancer, she has to raise funds for the drugs herself.

    The pharmacy at the hospital have agreed to supply the drug required at cost; the doctor recommends an initial four cycles of treatment by which time he will be able to identify whether or not it is working.

    With the help of family and friends, Melissa is hopeful that she can raise enough funds to pay for this life saving treatment, but it’s going to take the generosity and kindness of as many people as possible to get to the initial target of £16,000.

    For Melissa there is no option other than to beat this disease and keep being a mummy to her six year old daughter and three year old son for many years to come. Thank you for taking the time to read this page and if you can donate or share, anything you can do to support is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you x

    Updates

    4

    • Melissa Curtis10 months ago
      Melissa Curtis

      Melissa Curtis

      10 months ago
      Update from the Page owner

      I had my second Immunotherapy treatment today and that wouldn't have been possible without each and every one of you xxxx

      Share this update to help us raise more

    • Melissa Curtis1 year ago
      Melissa Curtis

      Melissa Curtis

      1 year ago
      Update from the Page owner

      A belated THANK YOU for your donations, words of encouragement and support, it means the world! The target of 16K was reached yesterday morning and has been rising since. With reluctance, I'm going to be increasing the target to 20K; the actual cost of the drug is more than initially quoted and I hadn't taken into consideration the page charges :o/ Some fundraising events in the pipeline thanks to family and friends. JustGiving have been in touch and would like to promote my page nationally to help drive more donations. Thank you all!!

      Share this update to help us raise more

    • Melissa Curtis1 year ago
      Melissa Curtis

      Melissa Curtis

      1 year ago

      We continue to be blown away by all of your generosity and kindness. Thank you! For those who are interested, here's a short video of how the drug works:

      Share this update to help us raise more

    1 year ago

    Melissa Curtis started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 4/24/2018 1:11 PM

    Supporters

    549

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      Apr 24, 2018

    • Sam Sanger

      Sam Sanger

      Apr 15, 2018

      I had the pleasure of this lady being my boss yrs ago and what a laugh it was, an awesome lady.You are a true inspiration and fighter, you will beat this. Sending lots of love and hugs xxxx

      £10.00

    • Keith Petty

      Keith Petty

      Mar 20, 2018

      £20.00

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      Mar 19, 2018

      I'm full of admiration. Keep fighting.

      £10.00

    • Dawn Sims

      Dawn Sims

      Feb 23, 2018

      Thinking of you! Stay strong. Love Steve and Dawn xxx

      £30.00

    • Oliver Wilson-Barnes

      Oliver Wilson-Barnes

      Feb 13, 2018

      Donation by ticket agents Wilson Digital on behalf of The Stage Door Southampton from funds raised at the Serenade The Stars event. All the best Melissa.

      £633.40

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      Feb 12, 2018

      Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your brave fight against this terrible disease. We wish you all the very best.

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    Melissa Curtis

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