Mum, 40, told by GP she had haemorrhoids for years dies from aggressive cancer
A brave mum who was told for four years her aggressive cancer was “just haemorrhoids” has died despite a desperate bid to raise funds for unapproved treatment.
Lucy Ogilvie’s rare stage four bowel cancer had already spread to other organs when she was finally diagnosed and told she would live no longer than December.
The mum-of-two, aged 40, was determined to prolong her life for her daughters Aoife, 7, and Enid, 2, and husband Iain – but sadly passed away on September 7.
Iain announced his wife’s passing on her GoFundMe page with “crushing sadness”.
“The preceding days saw a a number of complications, low-blood pressure and kidney malfunction among them, which ultimately led to her falling into unconsciousness,” he wrote.
“Her body just couldn’t keep taking the constant blows and, after a period being kept comfortable on oxygen, she passed peacefully.
“The true impact of this has not really been felt properly yet, but I personally feel some relief that she is no longer enduring the torment,” he added.
Following diagnosis in May 2019, Lucy’s condition initially improved after she took part in a drugs trial, but this stopped working after three months.
She then had chemotherapy, to which she also had a good response, but at the start of 2020 the tumours began growing again.
The mum, from Muswell Hill, north London, underwent radiotherapy treatment and further chemotherapy, which were also unsuccessful.
Having paid for a special type of molecular testing at Harley Street clinic Leaders of Oncology Care (LOC), not available on the NHS, Lucy was aware her tumour mutational burden was intermediate to high, and her oncologist believed immunotherapy could work for her.
It’s a treatment which has seen people with stage four cancer cured – the trouble is it’s not approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for her type of cancer.
This meant she would have to come up with the funding herself, which came out at around £6,000 every two weeks and she may have needed to be on it for as long as three years if it worked.
After launching her crowdfunder, she told the Mirror Online in August how she was blown away after raising £24,000 in just 24 hours.
But Lucy was always aware the chance of the therapy working was a long shot, if indeed she had lived long enough to begin the treatment.
As his wife had wished, in the event the money – currently at over £96,500 – raised could not go towards her treatment, Iain is to donate the money to Bowel Cancer UK and is hopeful of raising more funds.
“It is imperative charities like Bowel Cancer UK are supported more than ever to spare more families going through what we have in the future,” he said.
“It extinguishes so many bright flames, and increasingly young ones.
“I’m so sorry we couldn’t get to the stage of immunotherapy your incredible support was to fund.
“I hope you’re all behind Lucy’s wish that this goes to a charity that seeks to beat this spiteful disease, because it really needs a kicking.”
He added when his two daughters are older they “will be blown away by the generosity and warmth shown to their mum”.
An art auction, including pieces from well-known artists and designers, is now being held in memory of Lucy to help raise further funds to reach her original goal of £156,000.
Megan Riera, a friend of Lucy who has set up the Art for Life auction, said: “You never think that cancer will affect your life – until it does. When Lucy was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, all of her friends and family were left reeling, and wondering how could this happen to somebody so young, so full of life.”
Lucy had told the Mirror Online how she had been going to her doctor since Aoife was two saying “I had blood in my stools, and every single time I was told it’s just haemorrhoids, go away”.
“Either the GPs just totally don’t believe young people could get it or there’s some cost thing going on because it seems silly to not just let people have tests at the right time,” she continued.
“When things change, like in the last five years it’s grown exponentially the number of people getting diagnosed with [bowel cancer] – they need to keep up to date.”
The online art auction will take place on October 10.
It features works from French artist Malika Favre, painter Mary McDonald, designer Famille Summerbelle, and artist Joanna Ham, an alumni of the Ruskin School of Art.
More art is due to be added to the auction, with pieces auctioned on the Art for Life Instagram page.