“In the past two weeks, I’ve had to sit my two darling girls down and tell them I’m not going to get better”
After a recent casting session at the Studio, we had the pleasure of meeting a lovely family of four. It was only as they were leaving that we were incredibly saddened to learn that the mother, Lesley, was not well, and that in April she had been told she had only four months to live.
This is about Lesley, her amazing fight for life, and the unimaginable struggles faced by a family.
“Last year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and everyone thought it had gone forever.”
After overcoming breast cancer in 2015, the future looked bright for Lesley and her family. Devastatingly, she was told in April the cancer had returned, and had spread to her brain, liver and ribs. Faced with a painfully short time left to spend with her husband Colin, and two daughters Charlotte, 14 and Rebekah, 11, one drug offered some hope.
“My absolute last hope is a drug called Kadcyla which could extend my life by six months or more.”
Kadcyla is a drug treatment which may be able to prolong life in cases of breast cancer which has spread, sometimes by months or even years. Incredibly, this drug was not available to Lesley as she lives in Scotland. Although available through the NHS in England, her location meant that shamefully the drug was seen as too expensive for patients living north of the border.
Facing this impossible situation, Lesley fought back, not allowing a postcode lottery to decide her life this way. Writing to the Health Secretary recently, Lesley made a powerful and heartfelt appeal for a reconsideration. The quotes in this article are taken from this letter which was published in The Sunday Post and can be seen in full here: http://tinyurl.com/hcn3a3f.
“I have no choice here. I am begging for the opportunity to have three treatments and then scanned for results. If it works it’s beyond riches.”
A fundraiser has been started by Lesleys friends, initially to help capture memories for her two daughters, but also to show she could possibly fund her own treatment if the need came. This is currently totalling more than £22,000.
“This money was to make memories for us before it’s too late. I cannot waste a second of my precious time.”
After hearing Lesleys story, heartbroken, our body caster Luis ran out into the street to call her back, so we could make some extra castings just for her.
For these additional castings, Lesley asked to have two single hand casts, chosen especially so her children and grandchildren in the future to be able to hold her hand. Shown here finished in Antique Pewter, they show incredible detail of the palm and delicate fingertips.
“I arranged my own funeral from the hymns to booking the crematorium.
I’ve arranged for a room to be available for me in a local hospice when the time comes. We’ll have visits beforehand so that my girls can get to know the staff. I want everything to be as easy as possible.
Colin and I made our wills and I’ve written letters for my girls and the grandchildren I’ll never know. I’ve bought Christmas presents, birthday presents, wedding presents and baby gifts for the newborns I will never hold nor hear them call me gran.”
Thankfully Lesley has been granted a trial of Kadcyla, however this only consists of three doses, whereas a full course includes 14 doses. It is not clear if any improvement will be shown after the short initial course, or if any further doses will be offered.
In a recent interview with STV News, Lesley said:
“Some people have astounding results with this drug so I’m ever hopeful and hope that it does what it needs to do for me.”
Support is growing for Lesleys cause, starting from just friends and family to now thousands of supporters helping to raise awareness and donate using the Go Fund Me fundraiser.
“But I cry buckets when I think of my girls.
“I don’t want to leave them. Oh God – that breaks my heart.
Lesley said, speaking with The Sunday Post in May. This tough fight Lesley has endured, has also granted her the opportunity to meet with the Scottish Health Secretary on 30th June.
We have been honoured to create these castings for Lesley and her family, and support her in what must be an incredibly painful and difficult journey.
How to Help Lesley
If you would like to support Lesley, you can by:
- Donating to the Go Fund Me fundraiser
- Follow her journey on ‘Making magical memories for Lesley’ Facebook page