“I saw both of my daughters get married – thanks to a clinical trial”

When 58-year-old Nicky was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, she was told she might only have months to live. Thankfully, she had the opportunity to join a clinical trial at The Royal Marsden.

Royal Marsden patient Nicola in the middle of her two daughters, they are smiling and standing on the main entrance steps of The Royal Marsden in Chelsea
Nicky (middle) and her daughters Jo and Sam at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea

Getting an ovarian cancer diagnosis

"From my 30s, I spent many years trying various diets. The first few months would go well, losing several pounds a week but after that it was almost impossible to shift anymore, despite being so strict."

"In August 2021, I decided to go to my doctor, who referred me for a scan. I learned that I had a mass in my lower abdomen that would need operating on. The doctor said it was very likely that the mass was cancerous and I was treated as an emergency case for surgery.”

Nicky smiling with one of her daughters
Nicky with her eldest daughter, Sam

“It came at the worst time as my eldest daughter was just about to give birth to her first baby, my first grandchild! The mass – which was described as the same weight as three newborn babies – was removed and I was on the road to recovery.”

"However, several months later at one of my regular check-ups, the scans were showing shading and I had to undergo a second operation immediately. After this, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I started a round of chemotherapy in April 2022.”

"In December 2022, I was diagnosed with relapsed mucinous carcinoma (a very rare type of ovarian cancer). I was told I couldn’t have an operation as the tumours were attached to vital organs and the risks were too high. It was at this point that I was also told that my cancer was incurable.”

Joining a clinical trial at The Royal Marsden

"Just before Christmas 2022, I was contacted by The Royal Marsden. They said that I was suitable for a clinical trial, which was in a very early phase. Without further treatment, I was told that I may only have months to live and that seeing my two daughters get married the following year would be a push. It was a no brainer for me to join the clinical trial.”

It is all thanks to the trial, that I was lucky enough to go on, that I'm able to keep making memories with my family.

"In January 2023, I started treatment at The Royal Marsden on the ALIFTUS trial. This involves having standard paclitaxel chemotherapy alongside the trial pill (which is a type of targeted therapy).”

"I’m now on cycle 13, a year into my Royal Marsden journey! I saw both of my daughters get married which no-one thought would have happened! It is all thanks to the trial, that I was lucky enough to go on, that I'm able to keep making memories with my family.”

Nicola (left) with her daughters Jo and Sam standing outside in wedding outfits, smiling at the camera
Nicky (left) and her daughters Jo and Sam on Jo's wedding day

"My trial team look after me so well – they don’t just focus on the cancer, they focus on the whole of me, showing real care in getting to know me as a person. They are all so busy but still manage to make me feel like I'm their only patient. The nurses, who administer my chemotherapy, are incredible too. They are my Marsden family; they make me feel safe. The Royal Marsden is an incredible place and all the staff are amazing.”

"My youngest daughter Jo comes with me every Tuesday whilst I’m having treatment and we cherish these moments together. My eldest daughter Sam is just a phonecall away and my grandson is now two and a half years old – he’s growing up to be the chattiest and most smiley little man!"

“I have scans every 10-12 weeks and currently, all my scans are showing as stable which is amazing. The cancer is never going to go away so stable is the very best result I can hope for.”

Fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

A Royal Marsden Cancer Charity wedding pin sitting on a serviette at a wedding table
Sam's wedding favours

"My daughters, Jo and Sam, continue to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. They raised almost £1,000 during the 10,000 steps a day challenge in November and they both did fundraising at their weddings. Their wedding favours were The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity pins.”

"I think it's so important to keep fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The research they are helping to fund is amazing and is helping to keep me alive."

Special occasion fundraising

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