” I don’t have enough cancer for UK treatment” – Mum of three riddles with cancer spends £70k in Germany to stay alive.
By Mollie Mansfield
A mum-of-three forced to spend £70k every three weeks on cancer treatment in Germany to stay alive claims she was told she ‘doesn’t have enough cancer’ for UK trial treatment.
Louise Gleadell, 38, from Leicester, was first diagnosed with cervical cancer last February but after the disease spread she was told it was incurable in January.
Desperate for other alternatives, Louise attempted to participate in an immunotherapy trial – something that would increase her life expectancy – through the NHS, but claims she was denied access to the trial because because she didn’t have ‘enough’ cancer.
Despite being ravaged by an aggressive cancer, Louise claims she still wasn’t eligible for treatment and says she there was no further options available.
Refusing to die without a fight, Louise took it upon herself to find other alternatives, and has been spending up to £70,000 every three weeks to receive treatment at the Hallwang Clinic in Germany.
After relying on savings and fundraising from her family and friends, Louise is able to enjoy the time she has left thanks to treatment abroad.
Louise, a former holiday business owner, said: “I initially tried to join an immunotherapy trial in the UK, but I was told that I couldn’t because I didn’t have enough cancer.
“So we’ve had to use all of our savings so that I can get treatment in Germany.
“The first time that I went to Germany, I had to be there for eight days, and that alone cost £70,000.
“My second time, just three weeks later, cost £66,000 and now every three weeks I have two days’ worth and that’s £32,000.
“And I have to keep having these treatments every three weeks or my tumours will continue growing and I will die.”
Louise was diagnosed with cervical cancer in February 2016 after doctors mistook the disease for post-natal symptoms.
Due to several rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Louise’s cervical tumour shrunk – but it had started to grow in her neck and after and she suffered a haemorrhage, she was told it was now terminal.
Louise added: “I lost all of my hair from the repetitive rounds of chemo, but that was just a small price to pay for my life.
“I was going to have whatever I could to get rid of this cancer – the more you fight the better chance you have.
“It was weird, after twelve weeks of chemotherapy I slowly began to feel normal again, and I was going to the gym and getting back into a normal routine.
“I thought that everything was fine and that my cancer was minimising – if not, completely gone!
“But then one morning when I woke up I realised that my neck was really stiff and I felt a little lump on my neck.
“I then found out that this was a tumour in my neck, and this was when I was told that my cancer was incurable.
“As soon as I heard this, I just knew that my options weren’t up – I wasn’t just going to let this cancer kill me.
“So I started looking into options and it was either targeted radiotherapy or immunotherapy that stuck out to me.
“I had radiotherapy on my neck, to try to minimise the tumour, but I then developed a tumour abscess.
“This was when I started looking at immunotherapy and I applied for trials in the UK.
“Once I was denied, I didn’t dwell on it – I knew that I had to try and get on a trial somewhere, I didn’t feel like it was my time to go, but I knew my body wasn’t coping.”
After discovering that there was treatment available in Germany, and seeing the cost of it, Louise decided to scrape her bank balance.
She gathered together all of her – and her families – savings, cut down on bills and decided to not renovate her kitchen, which had recently been severely damaged due to a house fire.
Louise said: “Although it has cost me everything we have, except the roof over our head, it is worth it to be able to spend some time with my children.
“The next step would be to sell our house, but it’s not that simple, the kids are just young.
“It’s their home and I’ve got to think about their future – if I do go, what will they have left?
“I’m paying an absolute fortune, when I should be able to get the treatment in the UK, but it’s worth it to spend time with my family.
“Before my treatment I was bedbound for five months, so even little things like being able to sit at the dinner table with my kids, I cherish.”
Louise is now in a bid to spend as much time as possible with her family, so is raising money to fund her treatment.
With the help of friends and family, Louise has raised over £119K towards funding.
Louise said: “It shocks me how much people give, and especially when people are repeatedly funding my treatment it’s really heart-warming.
“Especially when I see people donating with young families, they’ve got a lot of things to pay for.
“I almost feel as though they shouldn’t have to be paying to keep me alive.”
To donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/louises-gift-of-time
University London College Hospital have been contacted for a comment, we are awaiting their reply.
Do you, or someone you know, have a similar story to tell? Get in touch today to earn £££ and raise awareness.