10th October 2014
Dearest Lauren, it is with a heavy heart that I write these words.
I can honestly say that I have never known anyone like you, nor will I ever again. The words ‘true inspiration’ are often overused, but not for you Lauren. You were a mighty inspiration. When fate handed you the cruelest blow, you dug in, and you fought your corner for all it was worth. You are the bravest person I have ever known, without a doubt.
Your determination to stay with your family for as long as possible and prepare them for the road ahead will comfort them throughout their lives. Your selfless desire to help others despite your own suffering, your words of wisdom (wow, where did they come from!), your unique and funny sense of humour (I will miss your rants), just you Lauren, you will be missed so very much.
To your family, friends and all who know and love you, I offer my heartfelt condolences. Heaven has a new angel watching over you, the very loveliest of all.
No more pain. Sleep tight lovely girl………
I want to try and prevent other young mums like Lauren, and anyone else suffering from this terrible disease, being taken from their families, so I have donated in Lauren’s memory to Cancer Research UK’s Stand Up To Cancer. You can too.
I cannot believe it is now over a year since I spent a wonderful afternoon with the Dixon family. What is more, I can tell you that thanks to the fundraising by Lauren’s wonderful friends and family, and generosity of the public, Lauren is still very much alive, spending each precious day with her beloved John, Ellie and Joshua.
Laurens recently wrote on her fundraising page the following words.
“Without the kindness, love, support and generosity you’ve all shown towards me I truly know I wouldn’t be here now..”
You can read more here.
Keep going Lauren, you really are a true inspiration. J x
Today I want to tell you about my friend Lauren. She’s a very special person.
Lauren and I met over 6 years ago on an online antenatal club. She was expecting her second baby and I was expecting my 4th. It was a lovely group of women and we all got know each other really well. Eventually we all had our babies and Lauren and I ended up delivering ours 6 days apart! The welcoming of a new baby in to the family is a time of great joy and happiness. A time when you plan for the future and look forward to watching your little family grow.
Some months after this Lauren’s life changed forever. I would like to share Lauren’s story with you, but I am going to let Lauren tell you in her own words. Please do read on. Juliet x
“For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Lauren.. Just turned 30 and have 2 beautiful children, Ellie (8) & Joshua (6).. I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2008 aged just 25 whilst still breastfeeding Joshua. With the love and support of my husband John, we won the fight.. Life changed a lot for us then, and it gives everything a whole new perspective. Our lives were turned upside down.
Around 19 months ago I was re diagnosed with spread to the liver & spine and given the awful prognosis of ‘terminal cancer’ and a ‘shelf life’ of 12-18 months!! Throughout my battle, all of my treatment has been paid for by our private (and very expensive) insurance policy, that costs as much as a small mortgage and John works every hour god sends to pay for it.. I spent a year on a chemo regime that included a drug called Taxol, and the ‘miracle’ drug that is Avastin. Taxol works by hitting the tumours, and Avastin backs it up by killing any blood/food supply..This worked wonders for me, and shrunk all tumours down to almost nothing. I had to take a break from this treatment for 2 reasons. 1) My insurance company will only fund 1 year of Avastin (as it is a biological therapy) 2) My body needed to recoup.
Sadly within 10 weeks I had relapsed and the cancer had become active in my liver again.. Since then I have tried various other regimes which haven’t worked at all and the cancer is now rapidly building back up in my liver… Which brings me back to Avastin. After a discussion with my oncologist, we agreed that time and options are running out. A request was put in to the NHS for an individual funding allowance for them to pay for Avastin for me. My private healthcare will fund everything else, but due to my contract not Avastin…. (To date they have funded over £300k of treatment for me – in effect saved the NHS that amount)… After waiting over a month and with my health rapidly deteriorating, the NHS have thrown a huge document at us stating that for them to even consider funding me I will have to re apply as an NHS patient and have advised that I ‘don’t tick the right boxes for funding’ so will take 28 days to say no, and by the time I’ve appealed and re-appealed I’ll be here no longer to re appeal.. It’s a harsh, cruel world when I’ve paid into the NHS my whole life and they will refuse £21,000 per year to keep me alive. However, the story of my life, and the words i’ve heard far too often ‘you don’t tick the right boxes’ have been used yet again….The NHS pay a heavily reduced rate for this drug, my insurance company pay around £5k per month for the exact drug and so too will I if the funds are raised.
So, there you go…. I do hope that made a little more sense and you understand why I am desperate to raise the funds to go ahead and start this treatment before it’s too late.. I am unsure as to how much it will cost exactly, but to allow me to start I’ve been advised I would need to fund 5 months treatment at least to give me any chance of responding so around £25,000 just to begin…
“Today (14th May) We have seen my oncologist who has confirmed that the current chemo regime isn’t working for me. My liver functions have worsened, my tumour levels have risen and therefore changes need to be made rapidly. As I don’t have the funding for Avastin at this moment, it isn’t an option at all.. So, we have agreed to try a different chemo regime starting next week and hope that it works (or at least holds the cancer at bay and buys me some time whilst finding the required amount to re-start Avastin).. I won’t give up hope, and although deep down know that I have almost exhausted the list of treatments to try, I am ready to step up the fight knowing that so many of you wonderful people are behind us.”
“I feel like I’m asking the whole entire world to raise such a huge amount of money.. It seems such a lot, and then every day I look at my babies and tell them that mummy is going to be ok when deep down I know that I’m not. They have the Best Daddy in the entire world, but that isn’t enough…At the moment, they are too young to realise, and unaware of just how poorly I am, but John knows and has to not only contemplate life without me as a person, but also face the harsh reality that he will eventually become Mummy & Daddy (and everything in between). Not only does he work a full time job, he comes home to look after us all and take over the jobs that I can no longer do (pretty damn well to be honest) ..Cancer diagnosis does not just affect 1 person, it ruins lives, families and takes away everything ..Every second, minute, hour, day that I have with them, that they spend with their Mummy means more than I could ever put into words and so we thank every single one of you for taking time out to read this.
Love from the bottom of our broken hearts,
Lauren, John, Ellie & Joshua Dixon xxxx”
If you have been moved by Lauren’s story and you would like to learn more, or if you think you would like to offer a donation please do go to Lauren’s Marvellous Medicine Facebook page, where you can find out more about Lauren’s story including how to donate.
Lauren my love, I cannot tell you how lovely it was to finally meet you face to face after all these years of online chats. I’m holding you all close to my heart. Love always. Juliet. x