Mum sent home to die with ‘terminal’ cancer completed a bucket list – but then wonder drug saves her life
A woman diagnosed with terminal cancer completed her bucket list – before the doctors told her of about a new wonder drug which is now saving her life.
Mum-of-three Jan Hornsby, 49, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after finding a lump on her neck and despite undergoing chemotherapy the cancer returned.
She was told her only option was a bone marrow transplant but due to complications from the chemotherapy surgery was impossible.
Jan was told there would be no further treatment and she only had months to live so set about ticking off her bucket list.
She went to a Grand Prix, visited New York, saw Paul Weller in concert, Scuba dived off the Maldives – and only had one thing left to tick off.
But Jan was then told about a trial drug which could save her life and it has reduced her cancer by 70 per cent – and doctors hope she’ll be cured completely.
Jan said: “”I feel so much better now and my last scan showed the cancer had reduced by 70 per cent. I was absolutely ecstatic.
“Then I had the joyous job of ringing my boys and telling them. My experience shows how vitally important research is.”
Speaking about her diagnosis; Jan said: ”It was horrendous. The family were very shocked and I didn’t know how on earth we were going to cope.
“My consultants said there was nothing more they could do for me and my prognosis was measure in months rather than years. It was a monumental, devastating blow.”
When Jan, a teaching assistant from Par, Cornwall, was diagnosed with cancer she started her bucket list.
She travelled to New York, went to Silverstone to watch the Grand Prix, went snorkelling in the Maldives, and organised one special day out with each of her three children, Andrew, Sean and Paul.
She went to the Grand Prix with Andrew, went to the Channel 4 Comedy Gala in London with Sean, and took Paul to see Russel lHoward at the NEC.
Jan also wanted to go see Paul Weller in Concert, which her partner Chris Shakespear organised as a surprise for her birthday, at a London charity concert.
The only thing that Jan had left to conquer was her biggest fear – ice skating.
Jan said: “I’d never been to London, and I’d always wanted to see Paul Weller in concert.
“For a birthday surprise my partner took me to London and arranged for us to go and see a charity concert where Paul Weller was playing.
“We also went to the Maldives to go snorkelling, and stay in a water hut, and we went to New York just before Christmas, it was perfect.
“We fired a log cabin in the woods, I’d always wanted to holiday in one of those so we did that.
“Then I went to the Channel 4 Comedy Gala with my next oldest son, and went to see Russel Howard at the NEC with my youngest.
“Our philosophy is that a lot of people talk about things they would love to do, but when we do that we make it happen.
“The only thing off my original list I haven’t done yet is ice skating.”
But before Jan had chance to cross the last remaining item off her bucket list she was delivered a last minute reprieve, in the form of a new experimental cancer drug.
The trial drug reduced her cancer by 70 per cent, so much so that she was eligible to undergo a stem cell transplant – which is hoped will cure her of the disease.
Now Jan is living in hope that she will be rid of the disease, with the next operation due in the start of the New Year.
“Looking back I realise that my breathing had got a lot worse but I’d just got used to living with it.
“That’s why I’m backing the Right Now campaign and I’m urging people to get involved in whatever way they can, to help fund Cancer Research UK’s crucial work.”
Her consultant Dr Graham Collins, who runs the trial in Oxford, said Jan had recovered so much she was eligible for a bone marrow transplant which carries a 60 per cent chance of a complete cure.
“We’ve only known about the benefits of this new immunotherapy drug in Hodgkin Lymphoma patients for the last year and it’s giving people a real chance,” he said.