A woman who raised £400,000 to send her husband for lifesaving leukaemia treatment in the US has shared some “wonderful news” after an “agonising” three months.
Earlier this year Kate Brandon, 33, from Bristol, crowdfunded a staggering £400,000 in less than a week so her husband Mike, 31, could travel to the US for CAR T-Cell therapy.
She recently shared her husband’s progress on their ‘Donate4Mike’ Facebook page, writing that Mike’s initial bone marrow biopsy test had come back clear.
“Prior to starting the therapy Mike’s bone marrow was almost completely made up of leukaemia cells,” said Kate. “28 days later there were none.”
Mike was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2014, just one month after he proposed to Kate.
Due to it being a rare type of leukaemia, Mike required a stem cell transplant to stand any chance of surviving, so he turned to The Anthony Nolan Trust for help.
His wife Kate launched the #Shake4Mike campaign encouraging members of the public to register as stem cell donors with The Anthony Nolan Trust.
Through the campaign Mike was able to find a stem cell match and on his 30th birthday, he received a lifesaving transplant.
Following the treatment, Mike underwent more than 20 grueling bone marrow biopsies, contracted pneumonia and had five further infusions of stem cells and lymphocyte cells from his donor.
All seemed to be going well until tragedy struck in February this year when Mike’s white blood cell count plummeted and he began to suffer tightness and pains in his chest.
In March, the couple received the devastating news that Mike’s leukaemia had returned - and it was worse than ever.
Kate explained that this time, Mike had very little hope for a full recovery and, as such, she issued a heartfelt plea for strangers to help her raise £400,000 on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe so they could seek treatment abroad.
“His only chance is to access this new research trial based in America which is CAR T-Cell therapy,” she said at the time.
After kind strangers rallied together to help raise money for the couple, Mike secured a place on a medical trial for CAR T-Cell Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Centre, USA.
“CAR T-cell therapy has really high response rates of complete remission,” said Kate. “To me it seems like more of a cure. We can’t go down without a fight.”
In a recent update on the ‘Donate4Mike’ Facebook page, Kate said that her husband’s progress was “a great first step” showing that the T-Cell therapy is doing exactly what they hoped it would.
Speaking to The Huffington Post UK, Kate said: “We are still in Philly while Mike is recovering from the aftermath of the T-Cell therapy, it has been a completely exhausting six weeks.
“I am obviously elated at his first biopsy results but know that we have many more biopsy hurdles to pass before I can believe we are truly out the other side of this.
“We are completely overwhelmed by everything, this has by far been our toughest battle yet. I cannot wait to get our boy home!”
Kelsea Little, spokesperson for GoFundMe.com, said she is “delighted” to hear that Mike is making good progress with his treatment.