Northern Ireland

Family of Co Antrim mother ‘simply blown away’ by £20,000 fundraiser support for treatment not available on NHS

Clare Symington was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in August 2022

Clare and Gary Symington with children Donovan and Dakotah

The family of a Co Antrim woman battling cancer say they have been “simply blown away” by the support given to a fundraiser to help pay for treatment not available on the health service.

In just over 24 hours, more than £20,000 has been raised for Clare Symington as she fights bowel cancer, which her family said has left them “completely overwhelmed”.

The mother-of-two, who lives in Stoneyford, was first diagnosed with the condition in August 2022 following a year of constant pain.

Despite undergoing major bowel surgery and chemotherapy, the cancer spread to other parts of her body with Clare being told the devastating news on her 50th birthday in October.

The family say they have been given hope after Clare and husband Gary were told by medics she is an ideal candidate for treatment using an immunotherapy drug called ‘Avastin.’

If taken alongside her NHS treatment, it could potentially help to maintain disease and disease spread.

While not available on the NHS, it can be sourced privately and the family are hoping to raise £60,000 for one year of private treatment.

Launching the GoFundMe page, Clare’s brother-in-law Neil said the family have “taken the very challenging decision to set up this page and a wider fundraising campaign to help provide critical medical support to our amazing sister-in-law Clare”.

“Clare, Gary and the children faced the planned treatment with energy, determination and with an attitude of ‘life goes on’ children go to football, homework’s get done and work continues,” said Neil.

He said they are “completely committed” to raising the funds required to help Clare.

“Our vision is very simply to raise £60,000 to enable one full year of private treatment for this incredible person and to hope that in this time, new treatments become available, and this private treatment becomes available on the NHS,” he said.

And speaking after more than £20,000 was raised in just over 24 hours, Neil said it demonstrated the “absolute best of humanity have already helped ensure we are 25% of the way to reaching the target”.

“Our family are simply blown away,” he said.

“Clare and Gary are completely overwhelmed, humbled and in awe of the donations, support, messages and lengths you have went to in your support.

“We thank each and every one of you deeply and sincerely.”

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Posted by Neils Sym on Wednesday 10 April 2024