A Kenilworth mother of three with a rare form of leukaemia has launched a crowd funding web page in a bid to raise enough money to pay for a treatment which is not available from the NHS.
Julie McNeill, 48, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and after six months of intensive chemotherapy underwent a stem cell transplant from a donor in Germany.
She was in remission when her mother died of cancer and Julie was left to care for her brother Paul who has severe special needs.
Then, in October last year, during a routine blood test, she was told that the leukaemia had come back and mutated into a rarer form - chronic myeloid leukaemia or CML.
She said: “When you think things couldn’t get any worse my husband suffered a stroke.
“It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality.
“It’s just one of those things you ignore.
“The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming until the unexpected happens.
“My only chance now is a second line immunotherapy drug called Dasatinib which, due to funding restrictions on the NHS, is not available.
“The cost for a 12-month treatment plan is £36,600.
“I am not the type to ask for help, certainly not for money, I am asking for my children to keep their mum, a husband to keep his wife and a brother to keep his sister.
“We would be so very grateful in any way, for your donations, no matter how small to help us achieve our target.”
“I don’t want to go, I love my life, I am happy, I owe that to my family.
“The thing about life is that it is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift not a given right but I am asking you all for your help in giving me those guaranteed days.”
CML is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells and tends to progress slowly over many years.
It can occur at any age, but is most common in older adults around 60-65 years of age.
In CML, bone marrow produces too many myeloid cells – immature white blood cells that aren’t fully developed and do not work properly.
CML doesn’t usually have any symptoms in its early stages and may only be picked up during tests carried out for another reason.
As the condition develops, symptoms can include, tiredness, weight loss, night sweats, tenderness and swelling in the left side of your tummy, feeling full after small meals, pale skin and shortness of breath, a high temperature (fever), bruising and bleeding easily, frequent infections, bone pain
Dasatinib is a type of drug called a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
Tyrosine kinases are proteins that act as chemical messengers to stimulate cancer cells to grow.
Dasatinib blocks the tyrosine kinases from sending chemical signals that tell the cells to grow.
It comes in the form of tablets which are taken once or twice daily.
For more information about Julie and her family’s crowd funding appeal or to make a donation to her cause visit click here.