Mum given six months to live raises £10,000 for potential lifesaving trip
A mother-of-three who was given just six months to live has raised almost £10,000 for a trip to America that could save her life - all thanks to people power.
Lisa Toner from Co Tyrone launched an online campaign to raise £6,500 towards medical costs so she could travel to California to undergo the potentially lifesaving treatment, which has a 70% success rate.
The 30-year-old has three young children, including a two-year-old boy, and was facing the heartbreaking reality that she may never see them grow up after she was told her cancer was terminal.
The Coalisland woman was told that the only lifesaving treatment available to her was in America, but it came at a high financial cost.
After she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2013 - just 10 days after the birth of her third child - Lisa underwent a gruelling ordeal of daily radiotherapy and weekly chemotherapy for six weeks at the start of last year. "Tough and sick as I felt, I had to go on with the little ones, they are my life, my reason to be here," she explained.
"In May I got results from my scan to say that the disease had cleared up, or so I thought."
Her routine six-month scan revealed her cancer had spread to the lymph nodes, so almost a year on from her first nightmare, she was facing her second.
She added: "This time they went at it full force - chemo once every three weeks, which made me sick and unable to look after the kids for at least a week after treatment, and six weeks of daily radiotherapy.
"I lost my hair, confidence, independence, role as a mummy and so much more - it was hard to bear.
"But with a smile on my face I battled on through it with support from family and friends, and of course the realisation I need to be here for my babies.
"A routine scan in the middle of chemo in April this year showed the cancer was responding and shrinking, which was a good sign.
"However, the scans at the end of treatment were to knock the stuffing out of me."
Following a series of tests she was told the second round of treatment didn't work.
The cancer had spread to her pelvis and lung, and it was not looking good for the young mother. "What I am now facing is something I never thought I would have to at 30 years of age - my cancer is aggressive and I've been given six months," she said.
She set up the online appeal to raise money so she can travel to California, where she will receive treatment that could save her life.
"I'm a very proud, independent person, but I have to put that to one side for now and think of my family. I'm not ready to leave my babies, and they aren't ready to lose their mummy," Lisa added.
More than 350 people have so far donated £10,000 towards her medical costs, which is just £3,000 short of her new fundraising target.
She will travel to America where she will spend three months, and hopefully her three children will be able to visit her throughout her recovery.
Her friends are also hosting a fundraising night in Hagan's Bar, Dungannon, on November 13.