A mother-of-two aiming to raise £500,000 for potential life-saving cancer treatment in the United States has passed the halfway point with her fund standing at over £290,000 after just 15 days.
Roz Paterson is set to go to the world-renowned Massachusettes General Hospital in Boston with her husband Malcolm and her two children, Thea, 13, and David, 10, next week – where she will receive an initial consultation before hopefully being accepted for treatment.
The 52-year-old has been given just weeks to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer known as Large Diffuse B-Cell Lymphoma (LDBCL).
She has been through four bouts of chemotherapy which failed, forcing her to consider a pioneering new CAR-T Cell therapy which invovles genetically modified blood cells being injected into her to kill the cancer. #
It is not currently available on the NHS in Scotland and any possible treatment in England would be too late for her.
Mrs Paterson, from Beauly in the Highlands, said she was waiting to complete the final medical tests to be sent to the US ahead of her trip.
She added: “Because it’s private healthcare they want the money upfront but I have enough for the deposit. I’ve been waiting for the last couple of medical things, an echocardiogram and a recent biopsy.
“My plan is to travel to America next week for an initial consultation, you need to see the consultant face-to-face, they need to know the blood is coming from your own arm and then they formally need to agree to take you. That clinic had been recommended by other patients who have had CAR T-cell therapy there.”
She added: “CAR-T-cell therapy takes two months and initially they take blood from you and they extract T-cells. They keep the T-cells and they are then genetically engineered in a lab and basically they go back into your body a few weeks later. You get a bit of treatment as well and the genetically-modified T-cells can recognise cancer cells and can make them kill themselves.
“It’s teaching cancer cells how to die – which they don’t know how to do. That’s the bit that’s difficult – when the T-cells go back in and the cancer cells death begins. It can be very traumatic for the body because it causes this mass cell death which takes its toll.”
Mrs Paterson said she had been asked to explain her illness and treatment to the local Brownie pack who had raised £2,157 for her treatment.