A HEARTBREAKING race against time faces a woman who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Mother-of-three Gemma Kent was told she the worst possible news at the end of May that she had inoperable cancer of the pancreas and liver at the age of just 41.
The Tadley resident was told she had just a few months to live without chemotherapy and as long as a year with the treatment if her body accepted the chemicals.
However, an option has emerged to be treated by a method getting startling results in Istanbul, Turkey.
But, the Kent family, of husband Philip, sons Jack, 20, and Alfie 13, and daughter Hope, three, needs to raise £60,000 to pay for the treatment, which takes up to six months, and to get to and stay in Turkey.
Gemma's mum June Beere, from Basingstoke, said: "We were devastated at the news. It was heartbreaking. My daughter had to put together an end-of-life plan at the age of 41.
"But we thought we have got to do something. Everybody is pulling together.
"Gemma’s babies need their mummy and I need my only daughter and very best friend here for the longest time."
Fittingly, the campaign has been called Hope for Gemma, in honour of daughter Hope who was conceived through IVF.
The Istanbul option was only raised after the family began raising awareness of Gemma's story online.
It took nearly six months for her to go get a diagnoses after being told by her GP, without any investigations or scans, that her pain was not related to her pancreas or liver.
The pain got to the extent that Gemma, an administrator for a construction firm, would be physically sick and pass out.
Eventually, on May 21, she was rushed to the emergency department of Basingstoke hospital. After an ultrasound scan came up with nothing, she demanded a CT scan which found a 9.5cm hard mass on her pancreas.
Staying positive, the mother dubbed the tumour ‘Percy the pain in Gemma’s pancreas’, but within a fortnight, she got the news the cancer had spread to her liver and was given the devastating timescale.
Sharing her story online, the family was contacted by another couple, the husband of whom had been put in touch with a treatment in Istanbul, Turkey, which he has had tremendous success with.
The treatment is a mixture of chemo with a diet, oxygenation of the blood and extreme heat.
Now, despite the wider concerns over the time it took for her to get a diagnosis, the family are firmly fixing their sights on the future and getting Gemma to Istanbul.
Already, more than £20,000 has been pledged.
June added: "It has been fantastic. People have been so generous.
"Gemma wanted to get her story out there to tell people that they know their body best and to insist on getting the right treatment early. We already have seen people touched by what has happened to Gemma.
"But now the aim is to get her our there for treatment while she is still well enough to travel, that is the urgency.
"You don't know what treatment there will be in the future so it is vital to get her out [to Istanbul] and increase her life expectancy.
A series of fundraising efforts are planned in the future, including family fun days on July 28 at Tadley Calleva Football Club from 11am, on August 12 from 10am to 4pm at the Wolverdene Club, Andover, and at War Memorial Park on September 29.
To follow the campaign, search for @HopeForGemma on Facebook.
To donate, go to gofundme.com/hope-for-gemma.
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