Yate mum tells how cancer pushed her to brink of suicide
A YATE mum has described how her struggles with the effects of brain cancer left her contemplating suicide.
Katie Warner says she felt unable to go on after she was left frail and suffering from seizures, and was only persuaded to carry on by a friend who saw her cry for help on Facebook.
The 28-year-old has spoken out about her condition to raise awareness of the funding crisis facing Cancer Research UK.
The charity has seen £44 million of funding for its life-saving work lost because of the cancellation or postponement of fundraising events and is expecting to lose £150 million over the coming year.
Katie, who has a daughter aged six, has been living with a brain cancer diagnosis since 2015 and had experienced countless seizures, rendering her unable to speak at times. The final straw came one New Year’s Eve when she felt she couldn’t go on.
Katie said: “Friends had been round to our house to celebrate the New Year and after they left, I collapsed on the floor. My husband Paul called his parents so they could look after our daughter Chloe and he called 999 and I was taken to hospital.
“I didn’t stay in hospital that night but went home and had so many seizures at home."
Katie said her daughter had to live with her grandparents while she and her husband struggled to survive.
She said: “I had contemplated suicide and posted something on Facebook about how no one would notice if I was gone. Then my friend Lucie contacted me and talked sense into me and set me on a better path by getting me to fight rather than give in. She got me through and built me up again.”
Lucie Owen-Drawbridge, who met Katie through her husband's interest in hot air ballooning, had added her as a friend on Facebook and only met her once before picking up Katie's "spine-chilling" message.
Lucie (pictured above left, with Katie) said: "I knew she was going through cancer treatment and I immediately replied, telling her I was going to Facetime her there and then.
“Being a straight-talking kind of person, I asked her not to put pressure on herself. ‘The pain is there to remind you that you are still alive, and she needed to be strong’ I said.
“Since that phone call we have become like sisters. We share our ups and downs, our jokes, our feelings, everything. In just one day we spoke 52 times. It is not unusual for us to call each other every couple of hours.
Katie undergoing cancer treatment
Katie has stopped her chemotherapy treatment for now and is awaiting results from an MRI scan to establish how the tumour has reacted to treatment.
She said than in one month alone she had 14 seizures, and has decided the risk of having another child is too great to take.
She has laid bare the problems cancer has caused her and her family to focus attention on the work Cancer Research UK - whose regular fundraising events such as Yate's Relay for Life have been disrupted by the coronavirus lockdown - does to find new treatments.
Cancer Research UK currently funds around 50 per cent of all cancer research in the UK but the £150 million drop in income it expects in the year ahead is equivalent to what it would spend on clinical trials over the next decade, and vital projects are being held up.
Cancer Research UK spokesperson Alison Birkett, said: “We’re grateful to Katie for helping to underline the stark reality of the current situation.
“COVID-19 has put so much of our research on pause, leaving us facing a crisis where every day and every pound counts."
People are being urged to help Cancer Research UK continue its research by visiting one of its shops donating online via cruk.org/donate or calling 0300 123 1022.