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Oncology nurse makes urgent £40,000 for cancer treatment

A cancer nurse is being forced to crowdfund treatment for her own terminal cancer as the drug she needs is not available on the NHS.

Laura Harris, 42, has devoted her life to helping cancer patients in the NHS but has been told there is no treatment available for her disease.

The mother-of-two was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer last year and given just three months to live.

Despite her illness, she stunned colleagues by returning to her work as a specialist oncology nurse at the North Devon District Hospital to carry on caring for other cancer patients.

However, after enduring countless hours of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, doctors now say her options and time are now running out.

Mrs Harris believes a drug named Bevacizumab may offer her some more time, but only if she can urgently raise £40,000 for two rounds of treatment.

 

Laura Harris, 42, has devoted her life to helping cancer patients in the NHS but has been told there is no treatment available for her disease

Trials have shown that Bevacizumab, also known by its brand name Avastin, can stop the progression of the cancer for an average of three months.

In some bowel cancer cases, the drug has prolonged life expectancy by as much as three years.

Mrs Harris, of Barnstaple, Devon, 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.’

Mrs Harris has a husband Paul, two children and a stepson, and is also continuing to act as a carer for her elderly mother.

The mother-of-two was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer last year and given just three months to live (pictured: the side effects of chemotherapy on her skin)

The mother-of-two was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer last year and given just three months to live (pictured: the side effects of chemotherapy on her skin)

Despite her illness, she stunned colleagues by returning to her work as a specialist oncology nurse at the North Devon District Hospital to carry on caring for other cancer patients (pictured receiving treatment at hospital)

Despite her illness, she stunned colleagues by returning to her work as a specialist oncology nurse at the North Devon District Hospital to carry on caring for other cancer patients (pictured receiving treatment at hospital)

A fundraising page set up to fund her treatment has already raised nearly £15,000.

Mrs Harris added: ‘I want to thank everyone who has donated and everyone who is working so hard to raise money.’ 

WHAT IS BEVACIZUMAB? 

Bevacizumab, which costs roughly £42,000 for a year’s supply, targets a cancer cell protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

The drug blocks this protein and stops the cancer from growing blood vessels, so it is starved and can’t grow.

Patients usually have Bevacizumab (Avastin) every two to three weeks and treatment continues for as long as it controls your cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) doesn’t recommend the use of the drug on the NHS in England and Wales.

Avastin, made by pharmaceutical firm Roche, was previously available on the Cancer Drugs Fund before it was cut in 2015. 

Nurse Hannah Sunderland, a colleague and friend, 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.’ 

Bevacizumab targets a cancer cell protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

The drug blocks this protein and stops the cancer from growing blood vessels, so it is starved and can’t grow.

Patients usually have Bevacizumab (Avastin) every two to three weeks and treatment continues for as long as it controls your cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) doesn’t recommend the use of the drug on the NHS in England and Wales.

Avastin, made by pharmaceutical firm Roche, was previously available on the Cancer Drugs Fund before it was cut in 2015. 

To donate to Mrs Harris’ appeal, please visit her GoFundMe page here. 

Mrs Harris believes a new drug named Bevacizumab may offer her some more time, but only if she can urgently raise £40,000 for two rounds of treatment

Mrs Harris believes a new drug named Bevacizumab may offer her some more time, but only if she can urgently raise £40,000 for two rounds of treatment

Mrs Harris, of Barnstaple, Devon, 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'

Mrs Harris, of Barnstaple, Devon, 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’



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