‘Don’t let my daughter grow up without a nan like I had to.’
Those were the heart-wrenching words of a woman trying to raise enough cash to send Janet Colgan to Germany for potentially life-saving treatment.
The 54-year-old, given 12 months to live after being diagnosed with cancer in September, needs £150,000 for immunotherapy not currently available on the NHS.
Her daughter Kate Colgan, 24, today pleaded for donations to ensure her two-month-old daughter Macy doesn’t grow up without a nan – like she had to.
“My nan died when I was five from stomach cancer,” the engaged mum-of-one, who lives in Crofter’s Walk, Ansdell, said. “And I don’t want my children growing up without a nan.”
Kate, who works in the medical sector, ordered her mum to the doctor last March after she began to suffer from ‘very, very mild heartburn’ followed by a severe stomach pain.
Following a series of tests, doctors broke the devastating news that Janet had stage four stomach cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes and peritoneum.
Only around five per cent of people with stage four stomach cancer are expected to survive for five years, and consultants told the mortgage advisor, who had to quit her job because of her ailing health, she could only have a year left.
Kate said: “I have always been independent; I moved to Manchester when I was 18. But when it comes to the bond with my mum, she has always been my best friend.
“For this to happen when I was pregnant was like both our worst fears being realised. She watched her mum die so she knew what she will have to go through.
“It had been in the back of my mind but it was still like I had been put on a train track and run over. It was heartbreak.”
Janet is having bouts of chemotherapy at The Christie in Manchester but it is only ‘half keeping the cancer at bay’, Kate said.
Immunotherapy treatment, only available in the UK for skin cancer and on clinical trials, would be a ‘lot more aggressive’ and train her mum’s immune system to kill the cancer cells, Kate added.
“A lot of people at this clinic have been cured,” she said. “She’ll go whenever we have enough money to start the treatment.”
Janet said she hoped speaking out about her illness will encourage others with reoccurring symptoms, however mild, to see a doctor.
She said: “The symptoms I felt were very mild. I didn’t feel dreadfully unwell, that’s the scary part.
“It’s a funny journey, to be honest. Your emotions go from rock bottom to quite positive. It’s difficult to put it into words, but I’m extremely grateful for all the help everybody has given me.”
A two-hour-long dance event will be held at the new Holly Rochelle’s Dance Works in Bristol Avenue, Bispham, from 5pm until 8pm on Tuesday, February 21.
Tickets are £5 with proceeds being split 50/50 between Cancer Research UK and the fundraising effort.
Kate, who also plans to shave her hair off at a future event, has launched an online crowdfunding page to receive donations.
So far, £1,433 has been pledged through the JustGiving website. To donate, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/savejanet