I want to address a couple of things which I came up in conversation over the past few days. It’s in relation to all of the fundraising which was done for me and it’s also about the ethics of the clinic I attend. And this is something which I wanted to do a few months ago but I ran it by a couple of people and they said I didn’t have to explain myself. But I want to explain everything, so there’s no question over my integrity. First of all, the fundraising done in my name has made me one of the most grateful humans on the planet. I count my blessings and practice gratitude many, many times a day. I have been given the most wonderful opportunity to go and chase that clear scan and save my life because people have been so generous with their time and money. It was weird and uncomfortable at first to be a ‘charity case’ but boy am I glad I didn’t let a silly thing like pride get in my way of receiving. I wouldn’t be here now if I did. Please know that I am forever grateful for every single penny which was given. You know it hasn’t gone to waste and I hope I have proven that. It’s hard when you find out people are talking about you and I wasn’t surprised to hear that people were curious about where the money has gone, how much of it there was and how much everything cost. Especially now that I am starting up my own business and I’m just back from a trip to Florida where I went for training. So I’m going to detail it all here… full transparency, I have nothing to hide. And now that my life is an open book, sure I may as well go through the financial books too. Talking money can make people uncomfortable and it’s something that I’ve had to overcome since my health now largely depends on it. So here we go…
The total amount that was raised from fundraising was €130,000. It was an incredible amount of money and one which I didn’t expect to reach. We had initially thought €100,000 would be enough and that was the target set on the fundraising page my sister set up for us. The total on the online fund page now says €65,224. Why isn’t the rest of the money on it? Because a lot of the fundraising was done locally and cash was given to the fundraising committee who kept it separate to the webpage. The page charges 3% on every donation so there was no point wasting that money.
How much has been spent on treatment? €115,000 has been spent on the clinic alone since June last year. I have also booked 24 flights which ranged from €315 – €700 depending on the time of year. I flew business class twice, one was an automatic upgrade because economy was sold out and the other was upgraded with frequent flyer points. I haven’t spent crazy money on first class flights. I have stayed a total of 85 nights in accommodation which have cost from €35 – €100 a night, again depending on time of year and amount of space needed for helpers. Anyone who has accompanied me has very generously paid their own way. The total amount of the fundraising money is now gone and has been since just after Christmas. We have paid the clinic up until the end of March and will take the next step depending on what they recommend from there. We are hoping that the visits will become less frequent and therefore less expensive. But as always, we’re living scan to scan to see what’s next. My next clear scan is happening towards the end of March.
In relation to starting up a business and the costs related to that… I got a loan from a family member and will be repaying it from earnings. It might seem crazy to some people for me to jump into something like this but I need to do it for a couple of reasons. I have relied on help from others to get me through all of this treatment and while it is completely amazing to have been able to be a recipient of that, I want to help myself. I feel able and I want to do it. I can work and earn now and I don’t see why I shouldn’t. Obviously my treatment schedule means I can’t work a normal job so this makes sense for me to work for myself. And I want to build something I’m proud of and I want to work in an area to help people who are in a similar position to myself. I want to have some purpose in life. If we don’t have purpose and meaning, it’s very hard to get through the day. My purpose was to get my body healthy again. And I did that. It’s time for a new challenge, I can’t sit and wait for whatever is around the corner. I’ve talked a bit over the past couple of months in my blog posts about what the business is and all will be revealed in the next post and on my new website which will hopefully be up and running next week.
A very well meaning lady asked me if I was sure the clinic weren’t ripping people off. And it occurred to me that this might be a concern of a lot of people who have raised money for me. A comment I heard back last summer too was that, sure why is she throwing money away to a clinic abroad, she’s going to die anyway. It’s obviously not nice to hear something like that but I see where people are coming from. The clinic I go to are very professional and honest. They don’t sugar coat anything and I have seen them turn people away, people they knew they couldn’t help. They won’t take people on just because they are paying for it. Similarly, they have taken people on who haven’t responded to treatment and they have let them go again. They are very good at what they do and they have found a new approach to treating cancer. They’re pioneers in this field, cancer care is slowly changing and this clinic are at the forefront of that movement. And if you saw the success rate they have of stage 4 people who go there after every other avenue has failed them, you would think it’s the stuff of miracles. Some of the clients in the clinic joke about how the doctors there are gods. And I never thought I would look upon a medical oncologist that way after the brutal experiences I’ve had, but they’re not far off it. They have saved my life. My very expensive life. *Cue L’Oreal ad*.
I hope this post clears up any curiosities there was around funds. I know that we all give money to various causes and have no idea where it actually goes. I can assure you everything is above board, no money ‘just resting in my account’. This explanation might help anyone who is thinking of going abroad for treatment, it will give you an idea about costs if you’re wondering how much you need. It is expensive business but what’s the alternative? I certainly don’t want to find out.
Massive gratitude and the most heartfelt thanks again to everyone who has continued to support us. Without doubt the most humbling experience of my life x