Meldreth mum with cancer in fundraising fight for treatment

PUBLISHED: 08:25 12 July 2018

Lysa Kemp with daughter Carys, son Kai and husband Stuart.Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

Lysa Kemp with daughter Carys, son Kai and husband Stuart.Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

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The family of a Meldreth mum-of-two with incurable cancer is hoping they can raise enough money for treatment to manage her symptoms and prolong her life.

Lysa Kemp has been on holidays and focusing on creating wonderful memories since her cancer diagnosis. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart KempLysa Kemp has been on holidays and focusing on creating wonderful memories since her cancer diagnosis. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

The family of a Meldreth mum-of-two with incurable cancer is hoping they can raise enough money for treatment to manage her symptoms and prolong her life.

Lysa Kemp was diagnosed with malignant insulinoma – a rare neuroendocrine cancer that starts in the insulin-making cells of the pancreas – in June 2016 at the age of 32, and was told then it was incurable as it had spread to her lymph nodes and liver.

She fought for any treatment she could get – but was unsuitable for surgery, and for radiotherapy at first – and when she was told she could benefit from the latter treatment, her application for NHS England funding was rejected.

She said: “I was devastated as this was the best chance of spending some more time with my children.”

Lysa Kemp with daughter Carys and husband Stuart. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart KempLysa Kemp with daughter Carys and husband Stuart. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

Lysa – who is married to Stuart and has daughter Carys, 13, and 12-year-old son Kai – had to give up work as a teaching assistant at Meldreth Primary School because of her condition.

She said: “When my symptoms were at their worst, I was having to test my blood sugar 15 times a day as I would become hypoglycaemic – my blood sugar would drop and it could be life-threatening.

“I had to eat every two hours, day and night and had to set an alarm to wake up and eat or I would have fallen unconscious.”

Doctors performed a liver embolisation to block blood supply to the tumors, and then, because of the insulin complications, it was agreed that peptide receptor radionuclide therapy was the best form of treatment going forward – this was granted in November 2016 on compassionate grounds as it’s not available for patients on the NHS in England.

Lysa Kemp with son Kai and daughter Carys. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart KempLysa Kemp with son Kai and daughter Carys. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

Lysa said: “After the first treatment, I noticed an immediate improvement in blood sugar and I was able to start going through the night without having to eat.

“It made a huge difference to the day-to-day symptoms and I was gradually able to get back to enjoying life, I regularly swam at Royston Leisure Centre, met with friends for lunch, and experienced some amazing holidays with my family which has created some precious memories for them all.

“We received amazing support from family, friends and local businesses who raised more than £2,500 so we could spend some wonderful family time together going to the theatre, on holidays, and to theme parks.”

Lysa also had counselling at Arthur Rank Hospice, and the family went on a break to Centre Parcs courtesy of the Willow Foundation.

Lysa hopes to have more life-extending treatment to continue making memories for her and her family. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart KempLysa hopes to have more life-extending treatment to continue making memories for her and her family. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

Lysa and Stuart were in such a positive place that he was planning to fundraise for the organisations that had helped them. However earlier this month, Lysa was admitted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where she was told the cancer had progressed.

She was told she needs another liver embolisation in the next few weeks and the best outcome to control symptoms again would be the PRRT treatment, costing £28,000.

She said: “We have even considered moving to Scotland if it meant we could access the treatment – but it would mean uprooting the children from Melbourn Village College and leave all our friends and family behind which would be hard as it is them which are keeping us going.”

Lysa’s pain, exhaustion and nighttime blood sugar checks are back and without the treatment, she will continue to deteriorate.

Lysa Kemp has been on holidays with her family to create wonderful memories since she was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart KempLysa Kemp has been on holidays with her family to create wonderful memories since she was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

“We are relying again on friends and family, and now the public, to support us in doing this which we feel really guilty about putting this on everyone else.”

“I can’t believe we have found ourselves in this position, it doesn’t seem real that not only have I got the uncertainty of the future and seeing my children grow up, but I also have the huge worry of finding the large sum of money I need to even receive the treatment – it just seems so unfair.

“In the last two years, I have had to write my children and husband goodbye letters, plan my funeral and make memory boxes for my children – and I have never experienced pain like it and wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

“I have faced many challenges, but the hardest of all was facing up to the fact that I may not see my children grow up, watch them go to university, or see my grandchildren.

Lysa and Stuart Kemp. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart KempLysa and Stuart Kemp. Picture: Courtesy of Stuart Kemp

“I very rarely feel sorry for myself, it is what it is, and I have to show my children that when things are tough we have to stand up, fight and not give up no matter what.”

To donate to Lysa’s fund go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stuartkemp1. Any businesses or community groups who are able to help financially or who could donate raffle prizes for fundraising events, call Stuart on 07539 217985 or email skemp.441@btinternet.com.

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