A fundraising page in aid of The Forever Friends Appeal is helping 55-year-old Mandy Harmandian to keep smiling during her battle with cancer.
Miss Harmandian, from Radstock, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma three years ago and went through chemotherapy before doctors gave her the all-clear.
Last September, she began having abdominal pains and received the devastating news that the cancer had returned, in the form of a tumour in her abdomen.
The 55-year-old has an identical twin sister, Toni Alford, who is a stem cell match and could donate stem cells to keep her in remission.
Doctors have said it is rare or identical twins to be a match, but unfortunately Miss Harmandian is not well enough for the stem cell transplant to take place.
Bath RUH has received funding to treat Miss Harmandian with a new experimental drug and it is hoped this will help shrink the tumour.
In the meantime, Miss Harmandian wants to raise as much money as she can for the Forever Friends- to help build a new cancer care unit at Bath RUH.
At the moment, Miss Harmandian is in the William Buds Ward at Bath RUH.
If she was given the go-ahead for the stem cell transplant, she would be transferred to Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
With the help of her niece Tara Alford, Miss Harmandian has already raised £930 for the Forever Friends charity.
In April she shaved her head for the charity and her niece had her hair cut- donating it to the Little Princess Trust.
Mrs Alford, 27, a veterinary nurse working in Chippenham, said her auntie was receiving the “best care” during a difficult time for the family.
She said: “She’s been in and out of hospital since March.
“She’s had two courses of chemotherapy and we got the dreaded news that nothing is working two weeks ago.
“They have said they want to try this drug on her as an experiment to see if it will shrink the tumour.
“Because they are doing such a great job for her she wants to give something back.
“She’s a very strong person. Up until this last week she’s been laughing and joking and been so well.
“She’s very brave and we all want this to work so much.
“It’s a helpless time and it’s really helped me coping with it because I’m doing something positive- I’m doing it for her really.
“It’s so unfair this whole cancer thing for everyone, it’s absolutely heart-breaking, it’s the most awful thing we have had to go through.
“Every new bit of money I get, I text her and it keeps her smiling.”
The Forever Friends Appeal is raising £8.5 million towards the total cost of the RUH Cancer Centre, estimated to cost £23.5 million.
To donate click here.
Article ©Bath chronicle