A woman, born and brought up in Crowborough, is trying to raise £66,000 to fund a course of life-extending drugs which are currently unavailable to her on the NHS.
Nicky Schellander is trying to raise the money through a fundraising website but friends who remember her are trying to help, too.
A “Coffee & Cakes” morning is being held at All Saints Church Hall on Monday.
Nicky, 44, is the daughter of retired Crowborough GP, Dr Fritz Schellander. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015 and since then endured two major surgeries interspersed with chemotherapy.
The cancer returned this year and Nicky underwent a third major surgery and is currently having a further course of chemotherapy.
Nicky is trying to raise enough money to pay for a new maintenance drug – a PARP inhibitor called Olaparib. Despite its life-extending potential, this drug not currently licensed in the UK for a first recurrence of ovarian cancer. Nicky recently appeared on the documentary series “Hospital” broadcast on BBC2 at the end of June.
Nicky, who now lives in Devon, explained that AstraZeneca recently signed a deal with the NHS to provide the drug free of charge if patients self-fund the first fifteen months of treatment:
This is the first ovarian cancer treatment to get approval from the NHS for over a decade and will still be subsidised by AstraZeneca.
At the speed this cancer grows, I need to start treatment very soon.
Nicky has so far raised nearly £45,000 but still needs a further £21,000 so that treatment can continue after the first year. People in Crowborough who know her and her family are helping with coffee mornings and other fund-raising activities.
Nicky did her A-Levels at Beacon Community College before going on to University to study design. More recently, she has become well known as a stunt horse rider and one of the UK’s only female jousters.
She said on her gofundme page:
My fiancé and family have helped me hugely, and I have had savings that I have poured into treatments up to this point. However, it is becomingly increasingly difficult to fund or even contemplate, the upcoming costs.
I want to get back to full health and get back to doing what I am passionate about and also marry my soulmate.
if you are able to offer a cake please contact Maggie on 655226 or Irena on 652598.
The Coffee & Cakes morning is at All Saints Church Hall on Monday (4th September) between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Alternatively you can make a donation through www.gofundme.com/nickys-chance-to-beat-cancer.