Mum’s fight to stay alive

Lesley Graham just wants to be treated fairly and equally - and given the chance to spend as long as she can with her family.
Lesley Graham just wants to be treated fairly and equally - and given the chance to spend as long as she can with her family.

Lesley Graham, from Barrhead, is well aware she is living on borrowed time, but the mum of two little girls is a battler and she is determined to fight on.

Lesley (39), who was diagnosed last year with breast cancer, had chemotherapy, a mastectomy and then radiotherapy before thinking it had been succesfully treated.

Then earlier this year Lesley was given the bombshell news that not only had the cancer returned, but it had spread to her liver, ribs and brain - and that it was no longer treatable. She was given four to six months left to live.

But a drug called Kadcyla could give her the time she so desperately desires.

Cruelly, the drug is not available to patients in Scotland because of the high cost.

Lesley decided to make a stand on the iniquitious position and made an impassioned plea to Health Secretary Shona Robison for the drug to be made available on the NHS.

Lesley’s letter said: “I have never before had to ask strangers for help but now I find I’m begging my own government to save my life.

“My absolute last hope is a drug called Kadcyla which could extend my life by six months or more.

“My oncologist applied for this and was told it had been refused. It’s available elsewhere on the NHS but not in Scotland.

“I am begging for the opportunity to have three treatments and then be scanned for results. If it works it’s beyond riches. If it doesn’t I’ll accept that, but what I can’t accept is not being given that chance.

“I was outraged to learn that in 2014 the Scottish Government paid out £17.8m to pharmacists for handing over nearly 500,000 methadone prescriptions.

“I’ve had to sit my two darling girls down and tell them I’m not going to get better. I’ve even arranged my own funeral from the hymns to booking the crematorium.”

Lesley told us: “I cry buckets when I think of my girls. I don’t want to leave them. Oh God – that breaks my heart. They know everything and they’re at such a vulnerable age – I can’t bear to think about it.

“My whole point is everyone deserves a chance.”

However, with the backing of her oncologist, she appealed the decision and was told she would be granted three rounds of treatment paid for by the NHS.

Lesley has now started her treatment and had a further scan, the results of which she is waiting on with baited breath.

There are no guarantees that the NHS will continue to fund Kadcyla so Lesley has resorted to raising funds herself in order that she can have as long with her family as possible.

If you’d like to donate, no matter how small a sum, the appeal is at: