At just 31, Laura’s the same age as me. Another thing we have in common is that we both have “Wild Type GIST” the incurable cancer of the digestive system. It’s so rare that hardly anyone’s heard of it until recently and the amazing efforts of all involved in the #100000voices campaign.
Laura was initially diagnosed in 2006 after being poorly for a long time. She had a large tumor in her small intestine which had to be removed. She was told in 2012 that she had metastases in her liver. She’s been through so much for someone so young and I know how isolated you can feel having the rarest form of cancer you can get.
Laura’s engaged to be married to Christopher in August 2015 and she has a beautiful daughter called Amber who’s 12. Don’t they look great together? What a lovely family! Laura is originally from York but now lives in Bridlington or “Sunny Brid” as it’s known.
Laura contacted me through Twitter and said she’d like to get involved in promoting the petition to get the drug Regorafenib reinstated onto the Cancer Drugs Fund list. We both know that this drug is a last resort chance for us both to live considerably longer so we’ve got a LOT of motivation to get this thing done!
Having GIST is plenty to deal with but Laura has even more on her plate. Amber was born with a similar medical condition to Harvey, Katie Prices’ son. She requires medication throughout the day, an injection at night and Laura has to carry emergency medicines everywhere they go. Amber is partially sighted in one eye and completely blind in the other and I cannot imagine how tough it must be for Laura to have to cope with her GIST on top of looking after Amber. What an amazing and inspirational woman.
I’m delighted to give Laura all the help and support she needs to help her spread the word on behalf of all us “GISTers” in the UK. The support starts right here with this webpage where we’ll update everyone on what Laura’s been up to and how she’s getting along. I know how hard she’s already working on Twitter (@LauraT9118) and Facebook to spread the good word and I’ve asked my team to help Laura to get some extra press coverage and radio interviews lined up.
Myself and Sam Waller are both based in Sussex so, in a way, Laura’s unwittingly opened up our Northern Division. I just hope she knows what she’s let herself in for!