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Can you help Lisa fight brain cancer?

Lisa Leader, 39, found out she had grade IV multifocal Glioblastoma (GBM) Left occipital, left parietal and left thalamus, which has a median life expectancy of 12 to 18 months.
Lisa Leader
Lisa Leader has had support from her friends and family all across Cambridgeshire (photo: Lisa Leader)

Her parents, Jackie Wardropper and Simon Wardropper, have organised a fundraiser to try and save Lisa's life through immunotherapy at a German clinic, which will cost around £100,000 in total in the first year. 

Lisa has been surrounded by support from her friends and family, all dotted across Cambridgeshire, and her daughter Ava, 7.

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy didn't work for Lisa, and she had a surgery on August 28 to remove as much of the second tumour as possible, but it continued to grow despite her treatment. 

Her parents said: "It cannot be completely removed because of the risk of causing life changing neurological deficits. Without further treatment, this insidious disease will continue to spread through her brain, destroying healthy cells and the beautiful person we know.  She is being really brave, but time is not on our side. 

"The NHS will now only offer palliative care. We want to turn to one of the German clinics who offer immunotherapy. In contrast to chemotherapy, the focus is the manufacture of a personalised vaccine from blood/tumour antigens which will strengthen the body’s immune system, helping it to identify and attack the cancer cells. The protocol starts at around £65,000 but with flights, accommodation, maintenance trips and more we are probably looking at at least £100,000 in the first year. By comparison, dendritic cell treatment in this country is in its infancy and costs £250,000, which is financially out of reach. We feel it is our only hope.

"It’s a big ask but sadly we cannot do this on our own.  We know it is a particularly bad time with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic but if anyone feels they can help us raise the money to support Lisa’s fight for life, we would appreciate anything, no matter how large or small.  Our much loved daughter has so much to live for.  Her one wish is to see her daughter reach her teenage years. There are some long-term survivors of this devastating disease but no real understanding of why. We have to believe she will be one of them."

Lisa's parents explained that on January 13, Lisa went into hospital after she became confused and couldn't articulate what she wanted to say, and after five hours and two CT scans, she was discharged.

They added: "On February 25, we had a call from her office to say that Lisa had had two catatonic seizures. We rushed to the hospital and waited as each ambulance drove in. Eventually she came round and she could speak, but was rather confused, she had a massive headache and nausea. This time an MRI was done the next day. Results, we were told, showed a supratentorial tumour, low grade."

Her parents were later informed there were three tumours, and by March 23, her diagnosis was given.

Mum Jackie added: "How does anyone tell a patient they may only have a year and a bit to live? Especially a young person with their whole life ahead of them.  Lisa and I have always had a very strong bond.  When I was ill, I sometimes wondered how we would handle the final goodbye, should it come to that. Never in a million years did I imagine that in just one year’s time I would be facing the prospect of life without her, not the other way round.  I absolutely cannot imagine it.  As any parent will know, it feels unbearably cruel. And for her and her little girl, just soul destroying."

Lisa's surgery on August 28 appears to have gone well, which her parents have said should give them an extra five months, but without treatment it will continue to grow again.

They aim to get Lisa the best treatment she can have to give her the best quality of life for as long as possible. 

At the time of writing, £42,519 has been raised, which grows substantially by the minute. Although they still need to make it to £100,000, the fundraiser has only been going for two weeks and they're almost half way to their target. 

If you would like to donate to help Lisa, you can do so on her GoFundMe page here.