A mum-of-three battling aggressive breast cancer is fighting for her life one month at a time.
Lesley Kennedy needs to raise £1,000 every 28 days to pay for special treatment not available to her on the NHS.
Doctors told that there is no more treatment they can give her because of the disease in her liver, lungs and bones.
But the 35-year-old says she’s not ready to say goodbye to her children – and is undergoing special treatment privately.
It’s costing her £1,000 every month to pay for her medication, Belfast Live reports.
Lesley is determined to carry on fighting for her children Ben, 14, Jake, 11 and eight-year-old Corey.
But Lesley from Eglington is not alone. Her husband Lee, and three sons, have been joined by friends and relatives, and strangers who have become friends, as everyone rallies to raise money to pay for medication.
After being diagnosed aged 32 in 2015 with stage 2 breast cancer she underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The following year she was told she had stage 4 cancer and it had spread to her liver, lungs and bones.
Then 13 months ago Lesley was advised there was no more medical care to help her.
She said: "If I’d given up then and agreed that nothing else could help me, then we might be in a very different place.
"But we pushed on and I got treatment privately and the last year has been exceptional. Every day with my boys and my husband, every moment has been special.
"If I had listened to what I was being told in some areas I might not have had that time or those experiences – and they have been precious for all of us."
Now a chance meeting in a caravan park means Lesley has even more support and the chance of more money raised for her medication.
Jennifer Howell and Lesley met at a caravan park in Benone, Limavady, last year and became firm friends.
And now Jennifer is taking an extraordinary step to help Lesley access the drug Palbociclib that suppresses the hormones that are affecting the cancer she is living with.
With the help of Cloudstreet Paragliding Centre in Craigavon, Jennifer is planning jumping in a tandem paraglide from Benone Ridge in the first weekend in June.
Jennifer said: "I have only known Lesley for a little over a year but we just connected. It was as if our paths where suppose to cross.
"Lesley is a beautiful lady, filled with courage, strength and has positive outlook on life, you can probably say she has truly touched my heart.
"Lesley has now been given the chance to self fund a drug called Palbociclib although this drug is available to breast cancer patients on the NHS, it is not available to people who’ve had previous hormone treatments – and Lesley has which means she isn’t eligible for funding via the NHS.
"So I am helping raise money for her to have the treatment privately and I’m hoping lots of people will help me along the way."
Lesley has now been on the treatment for two weeks and says she is feeling great.
She explained: "Of course there are good days and bad days but on the whole I feel good. I take the tablets orally and have injections once a month.
"I feel awkward asking for help but people have been so kind and I’m very grateful.
"I’m going to keep going as long and well as I can. I have learned that you have to trust yourself when bad news hits.
"And I am so happy I am feeling so well on this new medication. I was told the original price of the treatment would be £3,100 every 28 days and it seems impossible.
"Then it reduced to £2,500 and now I have signed a contract for the drugs which are costing £980 every 28 days.
"It’s still hugely expensive but with all the help I am getting, it has so far been doable.
"I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my children a year ago and I’m still not ready. So I will keep taking the drugs, taking the help and doing my best."
If you would like to donate to Lelsey’s fund go to Jennifer’s gofundme page – click here .
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