A pregnant woman who found a pea-sized lump on her face two days before giving birth has just months to live after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer.
Kare Geraghty, 34, from Leicester, noticed swelling under her left ear when she went into labour in hospital – but doctors stressed it was nothing to worry about.
Two weeks after giving birth to her daughter Ivy, her lump had doubled in size and she rushed back to see her GP, who sent her away for an urgent referral.
Ms Geraghty was diagnosed a fortnight later with a cancer of the glands – a high grade metastatic Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma.
However, surgeons were unable to remove all of the tumour because it was so large. It eventually spread and medics were forced to render it inoperable.
Ms Geraghty, who is speaking about her diagnosis last December for the first time, is now desperately trying to raise £100,000 for pioneering treatment.
Kare Geraghty, 34, from Leicester, noticed swelling under her left ear when she went into labour in hospital – but doctors stressed it was nothing to worry about (pictured with her partner, Paul Dhillon, and baby Ivy)
The keen kick-boxer hopes that the money, which will go towards immunotherapy in Germany, will give her a few more precious months with Ivy.
Ms Geraghty said: ‘After the incredible high of becoming parents to our incredible daughter Ivy, we have received such devastating news.
‘The whole of Ivy’s short life has been filled with my frequent hospital visits, tests and surgery – not to mention the constant fear and uncertainty while also trying to bond with our new baby.
‘I want to try anything possible to give me more time with Paul, Ivy and all of my loved ones.’
Her heartbroken sister, Becca Storer, 37, created a JustGiving page on Friday. It has amassed more than £45,000 already.
Ms Geraghty, who is a teacher, said: ‘We feel humbled by everyone’s reaction and can’t thank people enough for their support.
‘We are absolutely desperate to raise at least £100,000 as quickly as possible, potentially to travel abroad and begin the immunotherapy treatment.
‘Every donation will help to give us a chance for extra time together as a family and see Ivy grow up.
Two weeks after giving birth to her daughter Ivy, her lump had doubled in size and she rushed back to see her GP, who sent her away for an urgent referral (pictured while pregnant)
Ms Geraghty was diagnosed a fortnight later with a cancer of the glands – a high grade metastatic Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma (pictured: the lump)
WHAT IS A MUCOEPIDERMOID CARCINOMA?
Salivary gland cancer is a very rare cancer that experts claim is slightly more common in men.
About 720 people are diagnosed with salivary gland cancer in the UK every year, according to figures.
A mucoepidermoid carcinoma is the most common form of salivary gland cancer.
Most start in the parotid glands – the largest ones that sit just in front of the ears, but can quickly spread unless they are spotted early.
Symptoms often include tender skin, ear discharge, difficulty swallowing and lock jaw.
Source: Cancer Research UK
‘We have been completely overwhelmed with all the donations, love and support from everyone. We read every single message of support on the page.’
Ms Geraghty was told the lump was likely to be a raised gland caused by gestational diabetes, which she endured throughout her first pregnancy.
Her fears were dampened and she had an induced caesarean two days later. Ivy was born weighing 8lb 10oz and the pair were allowed home days later.
Just two weeks later, Ms Geraghty and her partner were alarmed after the lump had doubled in size and she was rushed back to the doctor.
Various medical tests showed she had a high grade metastatic Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma, which is the most common form of salivary gland cancer. Some 720 people each year are struck down with this form of cancer in the UK, figures show.
She underwent five hours of surgery at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, where the lump and 40 cancerous lymph nodes were removed.
But because the tumour was so large, it was impossible to remove all the cancerous cells, Ms Geraghty was told.
She was referred to University Hospital Coventry for radiotherapy but on April 5 doctors discovered two further lumps.
However, surgeons were unable to remove all of the tumour because it was so large. It eventually spread and medics were forced to render it inoperable
Ms Geraghty, who is speaking about her diagnosis last December for the first time, is now desperately trying to raise £100,000 for pioneering treatment
Ms Geraghty and her partner Paul Dhillon, 35, were given the devastating news that the cancer had spread, rendering it inoperable.
Ms Storer, who urged Ms Geraghty to have her lump assessed by doctors, described her sister’s ordeal as ‘absolutely devastating’.
She added: ‘Kate and Paul have been looking forward to being parents for years now, and it has been blighted by this horrible news.
‘Obviously when she first found the lump, she was concerned, but thought it was nothing to worry about. She was sick anyway and just assumed it was a result of that.
‘It was a really difficult birth, and obviously after that she had all the joys of being a mum to take her mind off the lump, and Christmas and News Year’s distracted her too.’
Ms Storer added that the lump ‘started out being the size of a pea’ but grew into the size of a ‘golf ball’ by the time her sister was diagnosed with cancer.
She said: ‘When she was told that it was inoperable and terminal, it was just the most utterly devastating news that you could imagine.
‘Ivy is such a beautiful little girl, and Kate is the most wonderful mum you could imagine. It’s devastating to think how little time they will have together.
The keen kick-boxer hopes that the money, which will go towards immunotherapy in Germany, will give her a few more precious months with Ivy
Ms Geraghty said: ‘After the incredible high of becoming parents to our incredible daughter Ivy, we have received such devastating news’
‘Initially she was told that she only had a few months left, but from our research, it seems like this immmunotherapy treatment could prolong her life.
‘We’ve heard of past cases where people have been given an extra year or two as a result of it, and we’re hoping that it can be the same for Kate.’
Ms Storer continued: ‘The goal right now is to give her enough time so that she can see Ivy’s first birthday, and create those happy memories with her before she goes.
‘I created the Just Giving page for my sister, who has gone from achieving all of her dreams to living her worst nightmare in the space of four short, terrifying months.
‘This was supposed to be Kate’s year. Instead she’s facing the battle of a lifetime to fight a very aggressive form of cancer.
‘Kate is anything but defeatist and messaged me soon after her appointment to ask that we start helping her look for options for immunotherapy.’
She added: ‘I am completely in awe at Kate’s strength and determination, but we are now literally fighting for her life and we need help.
‘Kate and Paul have been so strong, but they need help to prolong her life as much as possible and to let her be a mother to her little girl.’
Anyone wanting to donate to Ms Geraghty’s JustGiving page can do so here.