Mother with weeks to live fights for US cancer treatment

Roz Paterson, 52, is trying to raise £500,000 for T-cell therapy in the States.

Roz before her diagnosis pictured with her family. <strong>Paterson Family</strong>
Roz before her diagnosis pictured with her family. Paterson Family

A mother who only has weeks to live is pinning her hopes on raising enough money to fund potentially life-saving treatment in the US.

Roz Paterson, 52, from Beauly in the Highlands, has an aggressive form of blood cancer known as large diffuse B-cell lymphoma.

Diagnosed last summer, she has since had three rounds of chemotherapy but the treatment has so far been unsuccessful.

Now the local community are rallying round to try to raise £500,000 to send her to a clinic in Boston for Car-T cell therapy.

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“I had bloating and I went to the doctor not expecting anything remarkable but I was sent straight to hospital and got a CT scan that day,” the mother-of-two explained.

“What I had felt as a bump under my ribs was a 12 centimetre lymphoma tumour. It was at stage three and had spread throughout my lymphatic system. It was a huge shock.”

Initially consultants thought treatment would be a success.

She added: “I contracted sepsis on my third cycle of chemo and they scanned me and said it wasn’t working.

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“I was quite fit and thought that chemo will deal with it; that was the hardest blow, that it had failed.

“My consultant said ‘It’s not days, it’s weeks, months – but it’s not a year’.”

Roz became aware of T-cell therapy but the treatment is not available on the NHS in Scotland and limited in England, where she is not eligible to be treated.

So she began to look at travelling across the pond for the therapy.

“It is an amazing sort of therapy, cancer researchers are talking about it being a game-changer, saying in the future we won’t have chemo, we will have immunotherapy,” she explained.

“It is like science-fiction; they harvest T-cells and attach things to them, then replace the T-cells in your body and they instruct the cancer cells to die.”

Roz’s husband Malcolm and their two children Thea and David will accompany Roz to the States.

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Malcolm says “We are managing to keep our eyes on the prize of a fit and healthy Roz in the future, and being together; that’s what keeps us going.

“It has been a rollercoaster – but we are not getting off it.”

Roz added: “If I had ever imagined myself in this position with this terrifying diagnosis I would have imagined myself falling to pieces. I think everybody does.

“But actually you don’t because you think ‘if I give into it, that’s the end’ and it’s horrible for the kids.

“I just want to be their mum right to the last minute. So I am surprisingly calm.”

Roz’s fundraising page can be found here


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