Trudie Murphy: Terminally ill East Lothian mum fundraising £250,000 for cancer treatment abroad
Tranent mum-of-four has vowed to beat brain cancer and see her children grow up
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A mother-of-four, with a developing brain tumour, faces a race against time to afford life-saving treatment.
Trudie Murphy was first diagnosed with brain cancer in July last year and said the “worst part” was not knowing how long she had left to live.
She said: "It felt like I was a cartoon and someone had opened the ground and I’d fallen through. After I heard, my husband and I sat in the hospital car park crying. We had no clue if I was going to die this month, in six months or in years."
The 37-year-old was dealt more heart-breaking news when doctors told her she was not eligible for chemotherapy or standard radiotherapy because of where the cancer is located in her brain.
She was told the treatment would not only attack her cancerous growth but also the healthy tissue surrounding the mass.
For the last year, Trudie has been determinedly fundraising £90,000 for private medical treatment in Prague which she hopes will give her a fighting chance.
In March 2021, Trudie was given further devastating news, her brain tumour had grown 2mm taking it to 12mm, if it grows beyond 30mm she will not be eligible for treatment.
Having raised more than £60,000, Trudie is facing a race against time and must raise the remaining cash needed before it is too late.
“My life hangs in the balance,” she said. “ If I don't get the treatment I will die, I can't sugar coat it, it is what it is.”
The stress of cancer and fundraising has taken a toll on the young mum who said: “sometimes feel like I cant keep fighting this.”
The young mum recently received positive news this month
Trudie has been told she is eligible for treatment called Immunotherapy, that will work alongside Proton Beam Therapy to fight her cancer. Proton Beam Therapy is a specialist particle therapy that uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue.
However, costing a staggering £160,000 and only available in Minnesota in the United States, Trudie is now looking at a new fundraising target – nearly two times her initial goal.
And with additional expenses of flights, accommodation and childcare still to be paid for, the total required is likely to be well over a quarter of a million pounds.
She said: “I feel really hesitant about putting up the fundraising target because I feel like it’s hard to make people understand why it’s jumped up to this. Why didn't I mention Immunotherapy before? It’s just because I didn’t know it existed.”
Determined to keep fundraising for life-saving treatment she has organised an event on August 28 to boost donations.
And she has asked companies and corporations to consider donating either a physical item or a voucher to her online auction running in July.
Until diagnosis, Trudie worked in Tranent's Asda store but fundraising has taken over as her full-time job.
She said: “It can feel really overwhelming, I think about the fundraising page four or five times in a day and it’s constantly in the back of my mind.
“Some days it goes up by £500 and other days it’s £20, it makes you think "that’s it, the donations are stopping now” which is really stressful.”
Trudie fears losing her memories to cancer
Trudie’s brain tumour causes intense and long-lasting headaches but she said the “worst” symptom is her memory loss.
She initially feared she had Multiple Sclerosis due to a tingling sensation in her hands and arms.
But an MRI revealed the devastating truth about her illness and she has been fighting against cancer ever since.
She said: “The biggest symptom I am struggling with at the moment is my memory, I’ve started forgetting things, silly things. Like I will get in the car and forget to put my belt on.
“It’s like someone is stealing parts of your memory and it terrifies me. I have always been the organiser, the one that plans everything, sorts out all of the bills and runs the household.
“To think I might come to a point where I can't remember how to book something or pay for something, that is my biggest fear.”
Trudie is a full-time mum to her four children; Josh, 18, Naomi, 15, Zak, 12, and Skye, 9 and said not knowing how long she has left to make memories with them is the “hardest part” of her illness.
She said: “Not having an idea of how long you have got left is horrible, I’ve bought my kids birthday cards and wrapped all the Christmas presents.
“I was in Clinton's the other day to buy my daughter's birthday card for her 16th birthday next month, and bought her a 21st birthday card too.
I’m planning for the worst and hoping for the best. I sometimes feel very headstrong and focused thinking I can do this and then other times I feel like I can't keep fighting this.”
In a previous interview Trudie said that her children had inspired her to fight.
She said: “I don't want to live for myself but for my kids.
“If I wasn't a mum, I'd have less of a fight in me.
“There's so many times over these past few months that I've felt like giving up, but then I think of the kids.
“Suffering such a huge loss at their age would impact the rest of their lives.”
She vowed: “I'm not ready to cut those apron strings from my kids, they're my world.”
To donate to Trudie's fundraising page CLICK HERE.