FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Gofundme campaign is looking to raise $100,000 to send Tammy Mackenzie to Mexico to receive immunotherapy treatment for her rare form of cancer.
The FSJ resident has been fighting a rare form of stomach cancer called Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour for the last four years. She has undergone three major surgeries to remove the tumours, but a routine CT scan found the cancer had spread to other parts of her body.
GIST tumours have various mutation types, and Tammy’s is the rarest and least responsive to chemotherapy. Additionally, the type of mutation she has is becoming resistant to her current treatment. As a result, Tammy went off chemotherapy to improve her quality of life.
In March 2020, CT scans revealed that the cancer had spread further to her lungs, stomach, bowels, and liver. Surgeons would have been able to cut out parts of the tumours, but COVID-19 restrictions meant the postponement of her surgery. As a result, the tumours have grown to the point where surgeons cannot safely remove them.
The possibility of an experimental drug gave hope to Mackenzie, but she is still waiting on results and to hear whether BC Cancer will cover it. As more time passes, the tumours grow, becoming inoperable.
There is hope in an immunotherapy clinic in Mexico, but it comes at a cost. Tammy would have to pay for the travel, treatment, and accommodation in Mexico for anywhere between 3 weeks and 2 months. The Gofundme campaign looks to raise $100,00 to pay for Tammy and her son Jack to go down to Mexico for the rare treatment.
For the treatment to have the best chance at success, Tammy needs to leave mid-February.
The fundraiser was created Sunday and has already raised $13,470.