A £50,000 fundraising appeal has been launched to help a South Shields mum in her fight against cancer.
Esma Richardson, 39, was diagnosed in January 2014 with stage four lung cancer, which had also spread to 19 other parts of her body, and is currently part of a drugs trial which has helped to extend her life.
But in April, scans found that her right ovary was swollen and revealed a growth on a lymph-node next to her kidney.
Doctors are able to remove her ovary, however they are unable to operate or carry out radiotherapy on the growth discovered due to it being close to her kidney and blood supply.
All seemed lost for the former hairdresser – who is mum to Connor, 19, Marcus, five and Andrew, three, and stepmum to Emma, 22 – until she was told about Stereotactic radiotherapy.
But to undergo the treatment, she needs to fund it herself, at an estimated cost in the region of £50,000.
I don’t even want to think about what will happen if I don’t get this money. I have to raise this money as I have too much to lose if I don’t.Esma Richardson
Esma, who is married to Steven, 41, said: “When I was first diagnosed I didn’t tell anyone. I had treatment which worked and I was still able to work full-time.
“I didn’t want anyone finding out as I was trying to protect my son, as he was going through his GCSEs at the time. He’s now studying at Durham University.
“But 15 months after starting the treatment, I stopped responding to it. I was so ill and I was hospitalised. I was put on to a drugs trial from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and I have been responding to that – it works amazing.
“Because I was part of the drugs trial, I was getting it funded as one tablet a day a month of Osimertinib costs around £4,700.
“Everything was going well until April when they found a lump on my ovary and a growth near my kidney.
“They said they could remove my ovary, but when I asked about radiotherapy on my kidney they said they couldn’t as it would kill all the other organs next to it.
“It was then I was told about Stereotactic radiotherapy but that I would have to pay for it as it was only available to private patients.”
A friend has since set up a Go Fund Me page to help fund the treatment. Already enough has been raised to pay for the consultation needed.
“When I was told I had stage four cancer, they don’t tell you how long you’ve got. Everyone is different, I know people who have gone on to live for years.
“At first, I was panicky, I didn’t want to see anyone. But I feel like I’ve turned a corner.
“When I was first diagnosed I was told I couldn’t lift my children up in case I broke my bones – I was devastated as I hadn’t long had my third child.
“But I feel more focused. The drugs trial helped give me my life back, and this treatment will help me to continue to live my life.
“I’m really enjoying life at the moment and I’m enjoying being with my family that I don’t want to go anywhere.
“I don’t even want to think about what will happen if I don’t get this money. I have to raise this money as I have too much to lose if I don’t.”