'We will sell everything we own' - Norwich man's £5k-a-month cancer bill
- Credit: Submitted
A heartbroken family is spending more than £5,000 a month on private antibody treatment to save the life of a "thoughtful, gentle" man fighting a rare cancer.
Edward Lord, 36, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer last month after being rushed to hospital with debilitating pain - which quickly spread to his liver, lymph nodes, blood and stomach.
When the pain started Edward was a fit and seemingly healthy art technician, who had just bought a house with his fiancée and was planning to get married next year.
His family, who live in Norwich and Cromer, now anticipate having to fork out tens of thousands of pounds just to keep him alive while other NHS treatment hopefully beats the cancer.
Doctors told Edward the specialist treatment the family is banking on was not available from the health service.
On top of the £5,000 for antibody treatments, they are paying hundreds for oncology consultations, supplements, off-label medication and nutrition specialists.
As of September 29, a fundraiser to help cover medical bills had amassed nearly £50,000 worth of donations - and pulled together £30,000 in the first 24 hours.
Edward, who spent his teenage years at City College Norwich, was told by doctors that he had 12-18 months to live if his chemotherapy was successful, and six months to live if it wasn't.
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His doctors told him 3pc of stage four cancer patients were "miracle cases" who outlive the statistics but when the family begged for help to improve the odds, they discovered the antibody drug he needed wasn't available through state funding.
He explained: "I'm so unlucky. I have a really rare form of cancerous mutation. The drug I need isn't available on the NHS yet.
"My dad was sitting in the room with me when the doctor delivered the news that we'd have to pay for the treatment ourselves.
"Straight away he promised me he'd sell everything he owned to get me whatever I needed.
"The issue is when you run out of assets though. What do you do next?
"It's not right. It shouldn't be that poorer people have to simply accept what they're given and hope for the best. We should all have a shot.
"The NHS is doing amazing and I'm so grateful for the chemotherapy.
"But the constant underfunding means it has to draw a line under which treatments it can offer.
"It's so hard to hear that you can't access something which could help save your life because of money."
His sister Kate said her brother was "thoughtful and gentle" — and was one of many people who'd do anything to help him survive.
Explaining the decision to turn to GoFundMe, she said: "NICE is currently carrying out further clinical trials on the medication Edward needs before they approve it, but we don't have time to wait for the NHS.
"We started crowdfunding because we couldn't have afforded this life-saving treatment any other way."
The money currently in the funding pot will go towards ten months of private treatment for Edward, who has thanked his donors for their generosity.
Most contributions come from friends and family in Norwich and London, the place he's spent the last 12 years of his life working in the fashion and art industries.
He said: "I've got my whole life to live and I'm staying optimistic. But If I do die, I want the money to go to people in my situation who can't afford to go private.
"This could happen to anyone and I think that's why I've had so much support.
"I was a normal person living my life. This diagnosis came out of nowhere."
GoFundMe's head office said it had seen an increase in people mentioning the NHS — specifically NHS waiting lists — on their crowdfunding pages, showing that more and more people are turning to community-funded platforms to cover expensive medical bills they'd ordinarily have to wait years for.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: "Our sympathies go out to anyone suffering from a long-term or critical condition and we are committed to ensuring people get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
"Record investment is helping to tackle the backlog in the NHS, including £2bn this year and £8bn over the next three years.
"The NHS is deploying more efficient, innovative ways of working, and harnessing the latest technology to deliver more appointments and treatments."
Find Edward's GoFundMe page here.