Devon mum refused life-changing cancer treatment due to postcode lottery

Lucy Laidlaw's family have raised £25,000 in a fundraising page to pay for her treatment - which would be free in Wales or Scotland. Credit: Devon Live / BPM Media

A mother of two young boys with incurable cancer is having to fundraise for her treatment because of a "postcode lottery".

Lucy Laidlaw, originally from Yelverton in Devon, was only 40 when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer that had spread to her liver and lungs.She was given a drug called Cetuximab which, after nine months, had reduced the tumours in her liver enough to allow her to have surgery. Parts of the disease were removed and this meant she could carry on her fight against the illness.Despite the effectiveness of Cetuximabm - and the proof that it was beating the disease - she was then told that NHS England would not fund the treatment again.It said that if a person has received it but been off the drug for more than six weeks, it will not be funded for them again. It is, however, freely available in Wales and Scotland.Lucy's family do not understand this. They said: “It is impossible to comprehend why this is the case, when people’s lives are potentially cut short due to this rule, which only exists in England.

“The only choice we now have to try and control Lucy’s cancer and prolong her life is to try and fund this treatment privately.”

They began a fundraiser in a desperate bid to raise the £25,000 needed to pay for Lucy's treatment and have just passed their target.

Lucy Laidlaw had been having Cetuximab on the NHS but had to stop for surgery and now is no longer eligible. Credit: Devon Live / BPM Media / Laidlaw family

Lucy was diagnosed in April 2019, after suffering repeated stomach trouble. She had recently started her dream job as a nursery school teacher in her home village of Brockham, Surrey.

She was given chemotherapy, battling through nine months of sickness, fatigue and hair loss, while at the same time being a mum to her sons, then aged eight and five.

She and her husband Duncan have had to deal with all the issues of the coronavirus pandemic - isolating, not seeing friends and family, difficulties getting to hospitals and getting in touch with her oncologists and also having to home-school their children while Duncan held down his full time job.

Lucy and her husband Duncan and their two boys have been through so much in the past two years. Credit: Laidlaw family.

Lucy's family said: “We, as Lucy’s family and friends, feel so privileged to have Lucy in our lives. She is a beautiful, caring, funny and kind person – everything you could ask for in a friend, wife and mother.

"She has given us all so much joy in our lives. It has been heart-breaking for us to watch her going through all of this without being able to help.“As we potentially see Lucy’s precious life gradually slipping away, we want to give her hope and time to enjoy life as much as she can. Funding Cetuximab treatment for her will hopefully do this.

“Please, please also help us raise awareness of the cancer drug funding issues that are playing Russian roulette with people's lives.”Lucy’s fundraising page can be found here