Donations have been pouring in to help a Halifax mum battling incurable cancer raise £50,000 to fund potentially life-saving treatment.
Shabnam Khan, 45, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2015. Last year, she was warned by UK doctors that it was incurable but believes cutting edge immunotherapy, currently not funded by the NHS, could give her renewed hope.
But it comes with a hefty price tag and her family is now on a desperate fundraising mission.
The active mum of three’s world was turned upside down two years ago when she received the devastating news she had breast cancer.
After two failed rounds of chemotherapy, Shabnam, a teacher and professional concert singer, was told she would need a mastectomy.
“I remember feeling really positive after the mastectomy and lots of my friends coming to see me saying ‘you would never imagine you have had this kind of surgery’,” Shabnam said.
“I just felt like the cancer had gone, I’d won. It was a relief - I was told ‘we just need to get this out of your body and you’ll be fine’.”
Shabnam, who lives in Skircoat Green with her husband Qamar and three young children Ambreen, eight, Daryab, six and Mareena, four, was told she was “disease free” and life continued as normal.
But to her and her family’s devastation, there was more strife and heartache to come.
Shabnam began to feel unwell again and an MRI scan revealed the heart-wrenching news that she had stage four, incurable breast cancer which had spread to her spine.
“I rang my nurse and said that I was reeling with shock,” Shabnam said.
“I was trying to process what had been said. She called me in for another chat and I remember her stroking my hand and I just said ‘what do I do now?’ and she told me ‘you go home and make memories’.
“That phrase hit me hard, really hard.
“Those few weeks I had between hearing that I was disease free and being told that I was now stage four, I remember them as being probably the most buoyant months of my life. I just felt like I had been given my life back again.”
Despite the turmoil, Shabnam remains positive about the future.
She said: “I just want much more of the same, I have such a lovely life. Some people suddenly have a ‘road to Damascus’ kind of moment.
“I’ve not had that moment, because I already love my life. That’s why we’re going to give immunotherapy a shot in Germany.”
According to Cancer Research UK, immunotherapy “wakes up” a patient’s own immune system so it can fight cancer. An online fund to help Shabnam reach the £50,000 target has already raised more than £10,000 since it was set up last week.
She says she has been “blown away” by the huge outpouring of support and her goal is to focus on the summer and to be able to put the ordeal behind her.
“I try to do everything as I did before, I still work, I still sing,” she said.
“I try not to mope around the house too much, because it’s quite easy to hide. I feel hopeful. Isn’t that what everbody lives on - hope?”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/shabos-medical-fees.