Natalie Kate and David Harding plan to hold their wedding in October after her treatment at a clinic in Germany (Picture: Natalie Kate)
A cancer patient due to make a tricky overland journey to Germany for life-saving treatment is determined to overcome the odds and marry her fiancé at the end of the year.
Natalie Kate, 30, is set to make the time-critical journey to an innovative private clinic in Cologne by car so she can protect her lowered immune system during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The food development technologist has suffered a series of setbacks from an aggressive brain tumour which is usually considered terminal and was first diagnosed in 2017.
Multiple rounds of surgery and chemotherapy have failed to cure what she calls her ‘Great Big Monster’ and she is due to undergo treatment at the pioneering Immunological Oncological Centre (IZOK) after exhausting all options on the NHS.
The malignant tumour, known as a glioblastoma (GBM), showed progression for a third time before Christmas after Natalie ended up in A&E with bursts of pins and needles all over her body.
It carries an average survival rate of 15 months, with fewer than 5 per cent of people living longer than five years.
However the former special constable has refused to give up, regaining mobility after being unable to walk following surgery last February and raising money for the treatment through a GoFundMe appeal.
Natalie Kate is engaged to David Harding and they have planned their wedding for a Warwickshire manor house (Picture: Natalie Kate)
Due to head off from her parents’ home in Warwick at 5am on Saturday, she will need to present a negative Covid test at the German border within 48 hours before travelling via the Eurotunnel shuttle into France and then through Belgium en-route to the clinic.
Natalie is making the 1,000-mile round trip by road with her parents because steroids have further lowered her immune system and it is safer to stay in her own space than travel by air.
They also face complications from new border controls after Brexit.
Natalie said: ‘It’s been stressful sorting everything out and it’s going to be quite a journey.
‘We are going by road because it is safer although with Brexit there are a lot of logistics with all the different visas and green cards.
‘I’d obviously prefer if it was in this country, but it’s exciting to know we’re going forward with a plan.
‘This is a whole new journey for me and it’s quite scary but I’m determined I won’t let the Great Big Monster beat me.’
The first trip will take two weeks, including an initial appointment and diagnostics before treatment lasting eight days. Natalie will then need to make up to two more visits.
The only NHS option left as a back-up is further chemotherapy, which has failed to cure the tumour and left her tired, nauseous and drained while putting her immune system at an all-time low.
If all goes to plan, Natalie and her fiancé, David Harding, 45, will hold the wedding in October, with a small number of friends and family gathering at Wethele Manor in Warwickshire.
‘I want a normal life after three years of going backwards and forwards to the hospital,‘ she said.
‘I want to carry on like a normal 30-year-old would, to travel to new places and meet new people.
‘I’m engaged to the love of my life and it will be amazing to say our wedding vows at the end of the year, we’ve got it all booked, planned and ready to go.
‘I’ve even chosen a dress. It’s been a great distraction. It’s just about getting to that point and being able to walk properly for that trip down the aisle.’
Natalie is determined to life a full life once again after a series of setbacks as she fights an aggressive brain tumour (Picture: Natalie Kate)
Natalie was 27 and working in her dream job developing new cakes while volunteering for Thames Valley Police when she suffered a seizure and was told by doctors she had a brain tumour.
Within days, she underwent life-saving emergency brain surgery which removed 90 per cent of the tumour, confirmed to be a malignant grade 4 type. Natalie fought back, moving into a new home with David, returning to work part time and staying positive.
However further surgery, three different treatment plans and multiple cancer starving diets failed to work. The blogger was told before Christmas 2019 that MRI results showed the tumour was growing again and she underwent surgery the following February that left her unable to walk.
A little more than a year on and she is suffering swelling, minor seizures and a bleed on the brain, further signs that show the tumour is rapidly progressing once more.
The clinic provides advanced treatments not available in the UK but the treatment is costly.
Natalie is due to undergo immunotherapy, which involves creating a vaccine from her blood and putting it back into her body to attack the cells in an attempt to kill off the tumour.
She has raised £23,000 via a challenge to walk a marathon, with 18 miles to go, and will donate any money left over after her treatment to The Brain Tumour Charity.
‘Not being on chemo for now will help me lead a better quality of life, less tiredness, less sickness and hopefully a return to some normality, whatever that that is in current Covid times,’ Natalie said.
‘I am still very upbeat and positive, living life as full as I can and I am firmly committed to battling this disease.’
To view Natalie’s GoFundMe page click here
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