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Donations pour in to prolong life of new mother with inoperable cancer

The Independent logo The Independent 15/4/2018 Rachel Hosie

A mother who was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer just weeks after giving birth to her first child has found new hope of spending more time with her four-month-old daughter after donations to fund a £100,000 treatment have flooded in.

Kate Geraghty, 34, led a healthy, active life as a kickboxer and teacher in Leicester, so she and her boyfriend, Paul Dhillon, 35, were completely taken aback when just two days before their daughter Ivy was born in December 2017, doctors spotted cancer symptoms.

Despite already undergoing a five hour operation to remove the tumour that left her with nerve damage and partial facial paralysis, doctors this week told the couple that the spread is so severe surgery is not an option.

a woman holding a baby: paul2c-kate2c-ivy.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited paul2c-kate2c-ivy.jpg
Kate and Paul with baby Ivy

After learning about a £100,000 treatment available in Germany or America that could prolong the amount of time Kate can spend with baby Ivy, Kate’s sister Becca Storer set up a Just Giving page asking for help raising funds.

Within 24 hours, the page had already received £19,500 from online well-wishers, including dozens of supportive messages from fellow mothers who have never met Kate.

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Kate and Ivy

“We have been completely overwhelmed with all the donations, love and support from everyone,” Kate said. “We read every single message of support on the page.

“We are absolutely desperate to raise at least £100,000 as quickly as possible, potentially to travel abroad and begin the immunotherapy treatment. Every donation will help to give us a chance for extra time together as a family and see Ivy grow up.

“After the incredible high of becoming parents to our incredible daughter Ivy, we have received such devastating news. The whole of Ivy’s short life has been filled with frequent hospital visits, tests and surgery – not to mention the constant fear and uncertainty whilst also trying to bond with our new baby.

“I want to try anything possible to give me more time with Paul, Ivy and all of my loved ones. We feel humbled by everyone’s reaction and can’t thank people enough for their support.”

Before her diagnosis, Kate lived a healthy life and kickboxed regularly. But she noticed a small lump on the left side of her face two days before giving birth that was initially thought to be a virus. However, the lump was diagnosed as cancerous in February 2018 after growing dramatically during the first weeks of Ivy’s life.

The cancer, a high grade metastatic Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma, is located at the base of Kate’s skull but has spread significantly. Surgeons have said that even if an operation could take place the chances of survival are very slim and that she would have a poor quality of life.

a group of people standing in a boxing ring: kate-bangkok.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited kate-bangkok.jpg
Kate kickboxing in Bangkok

But friends and family hope that the treatment in Germany and America could prolong Kate’s life.

It’s not cheap though and is expected to cost at least an initial £100,000, including other expenses such as consultants fees, blood tests, drugs and immunotherapy.

Kate and Paul, who are both teachers, first explored selling their house to fund her treatment, but the aggressive nature of the cancer means it is not a realistic timeframe to sell a house.

a person sitting at a table in a restaurant: paul2c-kate-28expecting-in-october-201729.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited paul2c-kate-28expecting-in-october-201729.jpg
Paul and Kate

Kate’s sister Becca said: “I created the Just Giving page for my sister, who has gone from achieving all of her dreams to living her worst nightmare in the space of four short, terrifying months.

“2018 was supposed to be Kate's year, after getting through some pretty terrible experiences and ending 2017 with the birth of her and Paul’s first child, a beautiful baby girl. Instead she's facing the battle of a lifetime to fight a very aggressive form of cancer.

“Kate is anything but defeatist and messaged me soon after her appointment to ask that we start helping her look for options for immunotherapy. I am completely in awe at Kate’s strength and determination, but we are now literally fighting for her life and we need your help.”

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