An NHS oncology nurse is being forced to crowdfund treatment for her own terminal cancer – as the drug is not available on the NHS.
Brave Laura Harris, 42, has devoted her life to helping cancer patients but has been told there is no treatment available for her own fight with the disease.
She was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer early last year and given just three months to live.
However, she astounded colleagues by returning to her work as a specialist oncology nurse at the North Devon District Hospital later the same year to continue caring for fellow cancer patients.
But an urgent appeal has now been launched to raise £40,000 to fund treatment she believes could give her more time with her young children.
She has endured countless hours of chemotherapy and radiotherapy but doctors say her options and time are now running out.
She believes a treatment named Bevacizumab, unavailable to Laura on the NHS, may offer her some more time but only if she can urgently raise £20,000 for the first round.
Laura said: “As an oncology nurse, I’m only too aware of what I’m up against, but I’m not finished on this earth just yet.
“I still feel I have so much more to give and I hope this treatment will buy me some extra time with my family.
“This last year has been the hardest of my life but we are so grateful for the support we have already received.
Laura has a husband Paul, two children and a stepson, and is also continuing to act as a carer for her own elderly mother.
A fundraising page set up for Laura’s treatment has already raised nearly £15,000.
Laura, who lives in Barnstaple, Devon, added: “I want to thank everyone who has donated and everyone who is working so hard to raise money.”
Nurse Hannah Sunderland, a colleague and friend of Laura, said: “If you have ever had a family member affected by cancer in North Devon then it is quite possible that Laura would have cared for them in their hour of need.
“Laura has devoted her life to caring for cancer patients, even returning to work against all the odds, but now she needs our help. At this moment, every second is precious and there really is no time to lose.
“We urge everyone to give as generously and as quickly as possible so we can help this wonderful nurse, wife, mother and daughter have more time with those who love her so much.”
According to Cancer Research UK, Bevacizumab is a cancer treatment drug and is also known by its brand name, Avastin.
It is a treatment for many different types of cancers.
Bevacizumab targets a cancer cell protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
Bevacizumab blocks this protein and stops the cancer from growing blood vessels, so it is starved and can’t grow.
You usually have Bevacizumab (Avastin) every 2 to 3 weeks and treatment usually continues for as long as it controls your cancer.
To donate to Laura’s appeal, please visit her GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/laura-treatment-fund