THE family of a former nurse is appealing for donations to help save the life of their 'very special mum' who has been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of liver cancer.
Tessa Elam, 72 spent her working life as a community nurse, specialising in the care of elderly and psychiatric patients at Weavers Croft and Park House in Stroud.
Six weeks ago she received the devastating news that she had secondary metastatic liver cancer and probably has less than a year to live.
“She was told that she was too weak to undergo a course of standard chemotherapy ,” said her youngest son, Miles Playne.
According to Mr Playne, treatment options for secondary metastatic liver cancer at such an advanced stage are very limited within the UK.
But he and his brother Mark and sister Clare heard about a clinic in Mexico where there are treatments on offer which are not available in the UK or USA.
The siblings rallied with the rest of Tessa's family and managed to raise £20,000 to send her to the San Diego Clinic in Tijuana close to the Mexican/US border.
On Wednesday, August 20, Tessa flew with her eldest son, Mark to the Californian city San Diego to begin an eight week course of treatment at a cost of £60,000.
Every day they cross the border from the US into Mexico to attend the clinic but there is only enough money for Tessa to stay for another week.
“In mum’s case time is very much of the essence so we are moving quickly to make sure she receives at least some of the treatment,” said Miles.
“Now we are hoping to raise the rest of the money so that she can complete the treatment and get on the road to recovery.
“This is why we are appealing to the Stroud community where mum spent 40 years of her life working as a community nurse.
“After all she did to help those who were in need it would be great now if others could help her.”
Tessa's treatment, under the direction of Dr. Filiberto Munoz, specialises in alternative therapies for cancer and auto immune diseases.
“We researched treatments in Hungary and Germany as well, but in the end felt that the clinic in Mexico would be the best option for mum,” said Miles.
The clinic offers a variety of treatments for cancer but Tessa will be undergoing a course of Insulin Potentiation Therapy which works by first starving the body and then administering an insulin shot with a small, fractioned dosage of chemotherapy.
According to the clinic a much lower dose of toxic drugs is required, because IPT treatment targets only the cancer cells, sparing the healthy cells.
There are only three countries offering such treatment with Mexico being the cheapest option.
Tessa's family have described her as 'one very special mum and many people's special friend.'
They say she chose such a tricky profession for her working life because it was a speciality with so little hope so was not a popular choice for nurses and she felt this was where her work was most needed.
Now Tessa needs help herself and the SNJ is today launching an appeal to ask people to try and help save her life.
Any amount however small will be gratefully received and will give theTessa's family the hope they desperately need that their mum will pull through.
If you would like to donate to help Tessa on her road to recovery got to www.gofundme.com/help-Tessa-beat-cancer.
Donations can also be dropped off at the Stroud News & Journal office where they will be passed on to the family. Any cheques should be made payable to Clare Playne.