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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Friends and family rally round to support brave cancer mum

A brave mother’s years of battling cancer have so inspired her friends that they are taking to the Lakeland hills in her honour this weekend.

Kate Fisher photo
Kate Fisher with children Gemma, Sadie and Harry

Kate Fisher’s first brush with cancer was in 2007 but the tests proved inconclusive. It wasn’t until 2010 that it was confirmed she had lung cancer.

Despite having a lung lobe removed, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and cryotherapy, the result was still a terminal diagnosis.

However, adopting a strict holistic approach to the disease, Kate remained very well with the cancer developing unusually slowly.

Sadly, the 43-year-old, who lives at Cockermouth with husband Clive, a support engineer at Sellafield, and their three children, Gemma, 10, Sadie, seven, and Harry, five, was, in the New Year, given the devastating news that the cancer had spread to her brain.

Characteristically she vowed to fight on despite tests revealing she had multiple brain tumours and specialists explaining she could have less than a year to live.

Now some of plucky Kate’s childhood friends from the former Casterton Girls School, near Kirkby Lonsdale, have launched a fundraising effort to help Kate access complementary care and treatments not available on the NHS.

A large group of old school pals, their partners and friends, together with members of Kate’s family, will be taking part in a ‘three peaks and three lakes’ walk on Saturday and Sunday.

On the first day they aim to walk from Honister over the fells to Loweswater and the following day complete the return trip along lakeside and valley routes.

The walk organisers are Kirsten von Pfetten, who lives in Germany but hails from Dumfriesshire, Catrina Hudson, a Cumbrian, and Emma Sykes, from Yorkshire.

Kirsten, whose three children are pen pals with Kate’s children, explained that they had spread the idea of a walk through the school’s old girls’ association and were amazed by the response which has seen the initial fundraising target almost doubled so far – reaching nearly £5,000.

She said: “Kate has shown us that there is always hope in the most distressing situations and she is proof of the power of faith and determination.

“We believe her positive attitude throughout her illness acts as an inspiration to others facing the same challenges.”

Kate, whose maiden name is Coon, revealed she had been overwhelmed by the response from her school friends and others supporting the effort.

She said: “I have Non Small Cell Adenocarcinoma Lung Cancer with ALK positive gene mutation. We were unable to get this gene mutation confirmed under our local health authority so Clive researched where we could be tested and potentially treated for it.

“His research led us to Christie Cancer Centre, Manchester where the care we have received has been absolutely brilliant. This gene mutation allows me to take a trial drug which can temporally halt the disease progress. I was lucky, the drug worked well for me and kept the cancer at bay for 12 months, giving me such valuable time.

“Unfortunately, this drug is not very effective across the brain / blood barrier and multiple tumours have now developed in my brain, but my consultant at the Christie hospital is hopeful to be able to offer me a new trial drug soon, which could potentially help reduce the brain tumours.”

She added: “Unfortunately, brain tumours are quite a different issue.”

Kate explained she believed very strongly that, in addition to conventional medicine, she has managed to slow the spread of her disease through good diet and well researched complimentary care and is determined to continue this approach to the best of her best ability.

To support the walkers or for information visit www.youcaring.com/katefisher.

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