An urgent fundraising appeal has been launched to raise £20,000 to give a much-loved North Devon nurse with terminal cancer more time with her children.
Laura Harris, a specialist oncology nurse at North Devon Hospital, has devoted her life to caring for cancer patients but began fighting her own battle with the disease after she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer early last year.
Laura, 42, who has a husband, Paul, two children and a stepson, has endured countless hours of chemotherapy and radiotherapy but doctors say her options and time are now running out.
A treatment named Bevacizumab, unavailable to Laura on the NHS, may offer her some more time but only if she can urgently raise £20,000 for the first round.
Her friends have set up a fundraising page and have already managed to rally some £8,000 towards the treatment.
Laura said: “As an oncology nurse, I’m only too aware of what I’m up against but I’m not finished on this earth just yet.
“I still feel I have so much more to give and I hope this treatment will buy me some extra time with my family.
“This last year has been the hardest of my life but we are so grateful for the support we have already received.
“I want to thank everyone who has donated and everyone who is working so hard to raise money.”
Laura, who lives in Barnstaple, was given just three months to live when she was diagnosed in January 2017 but astounded colleagues when she returned to work later the same year - determined to follow her calling of caring for cancer patients despite her own fight with the disease.
She has also continued to act as a carer for her own elderly mother.
To help fundraising efforts, a group of friends and colleagues will take to the Tarka Trail for a bike ride on Good Friday, (March 30), and are asking for sponsorship through the page.
Nurse Hannah Sunderland, a colleague and friend of Laura, said: “If you have ever had a family member affected by cancer in North Devon then it is quite possible that Laura would have cared for them in their hour of need.
“Laura has devoted her life to caring for cancer patients, even returning to work against all the odds, but now she needs our help.
“At this moment, every second is precious and there really is no time to lose.
“We urge everyone to give as generously and as quickly as possible so we can help this wonderful nurse, wife, mother and daughter have more time with those who love her so much.”
Laura has been a strong supporter of Over and Above’s new cancer and wellbeing centre appeal, which she said was ‘vital’ for patients.
Last year her friends, family and strangers also rallied together so that she could marry her husband Paul in a beautiful ceremony at their home.
To donate to Laura’s appeal, please visit her GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/laura-treatment-fund.