A brave mum who has raised £17,000 for charities while battling breast cancer has been dealt a huge blow after being told her cancer has returned.
Now Gemma Ellis needs to raise thousands of pounds to pay for pioneering stereotactic radiosurgery treatment - not yet available on the NHS - which will cost £16,500.
Inspirational Gemma, of South Head Drive in Chapel-en-le-Frith, has been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in her spine.
Her friends have set up an online fundraising page - Stand By Gemma - to help cover some of the costs of the treatment.
Gemma, 35, who is mum to eight-year-old Ruby and six-year-old Scarlett, said: “I am so overwhelmed by people’s support and generosity.
“For the past 16 months I have been asking people to dig deep and help me fundraise, so I thought I had burned all my bridges, but this is just totally unexpected.
“It feels wrong that people are fundraising for me rather than a charity. I have seen people doing fundraisers for their own medical treatments and never thought I would be in a position where it would be me the money was being raised for.”
Gemma was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2017 and throughout her treatment became focused on rasing money to help others.
She has completed sponsored walks and hosted darts matches, raffles and charity nights, raising £8,000 for Breast Cancer Care, £5,000 for Blythe House Hospice, £1,000 for Cancer Research UK, £1,500 for The Christie and £1,500 for the Willow Foundation.
Gemma was not eligible for a free radiotherapy trail at The Christie as she had not been cancer or treatment-free for the six months prior to the discovery of the secondary cancer.
However, she has been referred by her oncologist to a consultant on Harley Street in London who is willing to treat her - at a cost of £16,500.
Gemma said: “My biggest fear came true in April when I found out the cancer had come back. I have spent so many hours and days worrying that this would happen, and now it has the fear has gone and I can concentrate and focus on staying well.
“My girls know and Ben, my husband, and I haven’t really spoken too much about this new diagnosis - we are just getting on with living. There is no cure for this cancer, but it can be managed and contained. I don’t want to look back when, or if, I get ill, thinking I wasted these months when I was feeling well.”
Gemma, who was named fundraiser of the year at the 2017 Pride of Buxton Awards, said it is hard to now accept people want to support her.
She said: “I would like to thank everyone for their donations. Whether we hit the target or not all the money raised will bring me closer to getting the treatment I need and I will work hard to meet the difference.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/standbygemma.