Man with colon cancer vows to marry his soulmate despite 18-month prognosis
Despite being told he likely has just 18 months to live, art technician Edward Lord, 36, has big plans.
Edward, of Harringay, north London, has vowed to marry his girlfriend Katherine Vagg, 34, who he proposed to over Christmas 2020.
The couple hope to tie the knot in September 2022.
‘Cancer is not going to stop me from marrying Katherine,’ said Edward.
‘We’re not getting married because I’m giving up – it’s more positive than that.
‘I want to live with cancer. I’m not going to die from cancer, I’m going to carry on living all the way through.’
The pair met through a mutual friend in June 2019, and quickly fell in love.
A year on, they bought their own home and soon after, Edward proposed.
But just as their life was coming together, Edward began to experience severe abdominal pains.
On the day he was booked in for an ultrasound, he collapsed in pain. Just a few days later, doctors told Edward he had advanced colon cancer that had spread to his liver and caused multiple tumours.
He was given just a 3% chance of ever going into remission, and a life expectancy of just six to 18 months.
Edward said: ‘It’s extremely rare for someone my age to have a diagnosis like this.
‘The tumour was in the wall of my colon, so I didn’t have any typical signs of colon cancer, which is why I had no symptoms until the abdominal pain.’
Despite all this, he remained positive.
‘I felt empowered,’ he said. ‘I heard a positive treatment plan and was keen to get started so I could fight this.
‘I’d been given a 3% chance of winning – not no chance at all.’
In September 2021, Edward began a ten-round course of chemotherapy. But one month on, he discovered he had the rare BRAFF mutation – meaning there were changes in the DNA of some cancer cells that can be treated with newer targeted therapies – and did not, therefore, qualify for NHS funded antibody treatment.
Now, Edward and his family are raising money for non-NHS cancer treatments, such as antibody treatment Avastin, to give him a fighting chance.
Edward, whose sister Kate Cranshaw, 37, a mental health nurse, started the GoFundMe page, said: ‘We started raising the money as soon as we could, as Avastin isn’t approved for this type of cancer, so we have to fund the treatment ourselves, which we were told costs around £5,000 per month.
‘We were blown away when we hit our £30,000 target within 24 hours.
‘We’re now raising £100,000 for other treatments, such as off label medications that block metabolic and signalling pathways of the cancer cells. I’m blown away by people’s kindness.
‘I’ve spoken to a nutritionist, too, as I’m trying to give myself the best chance of beating this.
‘If money is left over I want to use it to start a charity to help other people unable to afford treatment that is needed but not funded by the NHS.
‘I’m going to give it everything. I’m remaining positive, because half the battle is in my head.’
A huge part of remaining positive is looking forward to the future – including marrying Katherine.
‘Katherine is the most amazing person,’ said Edward. ‘She is everything I’ve ever dreamed of.
‘From the moment we spent that weekend in Norfolk together I’ve been in love with her.
‘We’re moving our wedding forward by a year. We haven’t pinned down a date, but we’re thinking somewhere between November 2021 and January 2022.
‘If I can look back one day when I’ve got through it and I’m in remission, I will be glad that it happened to me, because it has already made me a completely different person.
‘I know how precious life is. And I know how precious friendship and a loving family is and I’ll be focusing on that for the rest of my life – not on my salary, or what job I do. None of that matters at all.’
To donate towards Edward’s treatment, go to his GoFundMe page.
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