A family have been left “overwhelmed” as donations have poured in to give a mother of two a vital chance to battle a rare cancer.
Robert and his wife, Jillian Steedman, had their world rocked when she discovered two breast lumps in May 2019 shortly after the birth of their son, Reuben.
The nurse at Ninewells Hospital had a scan and two biopsies before receiving the devastating news that the cancer had spread from another part of her body.
As doctors worked tirelessly, and ultimately failed, to discover the primary source of the cancer, a CT scan revealed the true extent of the situation – the cancer was at Stage 4 and doctors were unable to operate.
In a vital bid to give the mum-of-two a last chance of hope, Robert’s brother, Alex, set up a charity appeal this week to raise vital funding for private treatment unavailable on the NHS.
Speaking today, the off-shore worker explained the family had tried to raise the funds privately over recent months before setting up the GoFundMe page.
A target of £75,000 has been set for immunotherapy treatment that could help Jillian’s immune system fight the cancer.
Alex said: “We are hoping that with this treatment we can change Jillian’s prognosis.
“My brother and his wife have been together since high school and they have a young family, it’s the worst words that anyone could hear that Jillian could only have 18 months to live.
“We are hoping to raise funds to help Jill receive private treatment either in the UK or abroad.”
A total of over £15,000 has already been raised in over 24 hours, with individuals donating as much as £500.
Alex added: “We’ve been stunned just how quickly that has been raised. On behalf of my brother and the whole family we can’t thank people enough.
“Jillian’s official diagnosis was that she had metastatic neuroendocrine carcinoma of unknown primary, a very rare cancer.
“She was advised in September 2019 by a doctor that she was not a candidate for surgery as the cancer was too widespread.”
The nurse was put on a six-cycle intensive chemotherapy called Carboplatin and Etoposide which she has previously administered to patients herself.
Family and friends prayed this gruelling chemo could help to regress the cancer as she vowed to “do anything, to see and be with my babies growing up”.
Alex added: “Jillian has been brilliant throughout this but the second-last chemo treatment started to weaken her, and she admitted it had all become a bit of a blur as she had been so exhausted.”
The family received the “devastating news” that Jillian’s six cycles of chemotherapy hadn’t worked, as scans revealed the tumours had increased in size and spread further into her liver.
Doctors gave the prognosis that the only chemotherapy treatment left to assist her was Capecitabine and Temozolomide which would only offer palliative care.
Alex added: “The level of donations has taken me aback. We’ve had both Dundee and Dundee United getting in touch and also Glasgow Rangers.
“I’ve spoken with Greg Burke of the Besty’s charity and they’ve donated £1,000 which is brilliant.
“It has been overwhelming to see the level of donations in such a short space of time.
“We’ve had people donating from Ireland and also Marnie from Geordie Shore as well as people from the local community.”
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