Northern Ireland mother announces miracle recovery from terminal cancer
A Northern Ireland mother-of-two and self-styled 'cancer warrior' has announced a miraculous recovery from the disease doctors said would kill her.
In 2014, Melanie Kennedy was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she had five years to live.
After her earlier treatment stopped working she became aware of a potentially-effective drug called Kadcyla, which was available on the NHS in Scotland, but could only be accessed privately in Northern Ireland at a cost of £20,000.
Her battle to have access to the drug extended to women in Northern Ireland brought her to prominence as a campaigner, and in July last year her efforts resulted in access to the drug being made available in the province.
The Bangor woman hoped Kadcyla - which is generally only considered lift-lengthening - would allow her to spend more time with her two sons, 17-year-old Josh and six-year-old AJ.
In a Facebook page on Tuesday, Melanie announced liver tests had shown her to be free of the disease.
"OK folks my latest scan results are in and after 15 months on Kadcyla, five and a half years, 70 chemos in total and countless herceptins for the first time ever there is - no perceptible disease in my liver!" she said.
"The day I never dreamed would happen is here! Trevor the tumour has left the building! Having metastatic cancer this does not mean I am in the clear (there is a little nodule on my lung) and after a short treatment holiday I will still have kadcyla (since it’s working so well) and it is possible trev could come back or pop up elsewhere but today is an AMAZING day!"
Melanie runs the Northern Ireland Cancer Advocacy movement, which provides support for other cancer sufferers.
She began to battle for access to Kadcyla after after her previous treatment stopped working, and in July last year her campaigning secured a change of policy which means hundreds of women in Northern Ireland can now access the drug.
Ahead of the rule change, money was raised for Melanie through a fundraiser set up by her friend and creator of stage and book sensation Fifty Shades of Red, White and Blue Leesa Harker - pulling in more than £11,000 in its first 24 hours.
In her post about her treatment, Melanie added it was "the best news I’ve ever had since this all started" and she was thankful "everyone who needs it can now have it but that’s still not true for 26 other drugs and a few other therapies ! Every patient deserves the chance to write this status - NO PRICE ON LIFE".
Belfast Telegraph Digital