A Stony Stratford couple face a race against time to raise the funds needed for a pioneering cancer treatment.
Just over a year ago Kat Charles, 34, was told she had a matter of months to live as the NHS could no longer hold back the growth of her brain tumour.
The mother-of-one’s condition then improved after she joined a medical trial, but the treatment is no longer effective as Kat’s condition has once again deteriorated.
Hope is now placed on a experimental procedure called DCVAX– in which 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, but will cost Kat and her husband, Jason, around £150,000.
The couple are now attempting to raise £90,000 to make their dream a reality and less than 24 hours after launching their campaign they have received £4,000 in pledges.
Jason told the Citizen: “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 was first diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2011, after suffering a seizure while travelling with Jason in Costa Rica.
The couple 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.
However, 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 said: “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.
> Turn to page 4
“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 find out more about the fund log on to www.justgiving.com/katscure