This afternoon I had a call from Jamie. Jamie is one of Carbon's Partners. I've got to know Jamie since first trying to persuade him to join us in 2014. Eventually, persistence paid off and we were delighted to welcome Jamie to the Partnership and the community here at Carbon in August 2017. 

We have known that Jamie's sister Hannah had a fight on her hands with an aggressive cancer, but today his call was for our help. He asked for my agreement to send an email to the Carbon community to tell us how his amazing sister was fighting on. Without hesitation I said yes. It was a heart stopping call. A moment when you stop and reflect on what is important in life.

Family, community. They are important. Getting behind your nearest and dearest and responding to the call for help is what makes us human. Jamie and his family are asking the community for help. So I thought, who is the community and then I thought... it's all of you. If you're moved to help, feel free links are below and if you are not given there are so many calls for support, do this one thing. Go home and hug your loved ones. Life is precious.

Here is what Jamie said to our community:

Hi all

Apologies for hijacking the All Carbon email distribution group. Michael has very kindly given me permission to use it for this message - thank you Michael.

A few, but not many of you, know that my little sister, Hannah, has been fighting a battle with cancer for two years. Out of the blue, in April 2017, she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to her ovaries and peritoneum. Put under the care of the Royal Marsden and a specialist unit in Basingstoke, she underwent very significant surgery followed by cycle after cycle of chemotherapy treatment interspersed with further surgery to remove the tumours and treat any remaining cancer.

I’ve always known that Hannah has spirit and grit and determination far beyond anything I could ever imagine. She needed every ounce of this fight to get through the treatment that she underwent. Throughout all of her treatment, she has remained stoic, humble, uncynical and accepting of the battle she fought every day.

Out of the darkness in April 2018, there came light and hope with the news that the further round of surgery coupled with chemotherapy had been successful. Subsequent bouts of chemotherapy followed until, in September last year, Hannah was told that scans showed no sign of the cancer being present in the body. Repeated scans towards the back end of last year were again clear and gradually I watched Hannah’s strength and her and her husband’s hope for as normal a life as possible build. We shared Christmas together and whilst the physical and mental scars of her treatment were visible, as a family we believed in a future for Hannah. Then in March this year, Hannah received the news that the cancer had returned, again aggressively. Further, Hannah was told that treatment options were now exceptionally limited and the only available treatment was an immunotherapy clinical trial at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

The immunotherapy is brutal. Engaging the same resilience and indomitable spirit that got her through surgery and chemotherapy, Hannah continues on the trial but she is in constant pain amongst all kinds of other symptoms and the very painful reality is that, whilst her will and spirit remain undimmed, her body is gradually losing this fight. Her team at the Marsden have told her frankly that they can try and slow the spread of the cancer but they cannot cure it.

In all of this bleakness, there is however genuine hope. Under recommendation from a leading British expert in immunology, Hannah has travelled to Frankfurt Northwest hospital where there is experimental immunotherapy treatment available involving a technique called Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TIL). This pioneering treatment essentially involves personalising treatment uniquely to Hannah and the particular cancer she is battling by training her immune cells to specifically target those cancer cells in her body. There is genuine belief at the Frankfurt that, using this technique, they may be able to cure Hannah’s cancer.

Unfortunately though, whilst the NHS has been incredible and done amazing things for Hannah, this particular treatment is not available through it. Hannah therefore needs to raise funds in order to go forward with the treatment which may save her life. The target amount is £100,000 and the family have set up a fundraising page to try and achieve this.

I know you will all have things going on in your own family’s lives and I find it hard to ask people outside the family for help. I would be so grateful though if you would just give Hannah’s page (link below) a quick look. If you feel inclined then please consider donating something to help her get to the target, or share the page or keep her in your thoughts.

Thanks for reading everyone – I know your time is incredibly valuable and I’m really grateful for you taking the time to read this.

Much love