Wonderful News for #Donate4Mike Couple Who Raised Over £450,000 for Life-Saving Treatment

Wonderful News for #Donate4Mike Couple Who Raised Over £450,000 for Life-Saving Treatment
22nd July 2016 James Brooke

Wonderful News for #Donate4Mike Couple Who Raised Over £450,000 for Life-Saving Treatment

Doctors reveal that Mike’s bone marrow is now completely clear of cancer cells.

Kate and Mike Brandon, the couple who raised over £400,000 in just over a week after Mike was diagnosed with terminal cancer, have now revealed he is beating the disease after receiving ‘last-hope’ treatment through a clinical trial in the United States.

The Bristol couple started the GoFundMe campaign three months ago to raise funds for Mike to have intensive treatment for leukaemia in America after being told that there were no medical options left available to him in the UK. Their heartfelt GoFundMe appeal touched the heart of the nation and the six-figure sum was raised in a matter of days.

Over the weekend, the couple told their GoFundMe and social media followers that Mike’s bone marrow was now completely clear of cancer cells.

Kate Brandon said: “After what can only be described as a completely agonising three months we wanted to share with you some wonderful news: Mike’s initial bone marrow biopsy test has come back clear! Prior to starting the therapy Mike’s bone marrow was almost completely made up of leukaemia cells, 28 days later there were none.

“The part played in this by the whole team at Penn Medicine, especially our doctors and nurses from the Abramson Cancer Center, cannot be over-emphasised. We have received kindness, care and compassion beyond any expectation.

“This is a great first step showing that the T-Cell therapy is doing exactly what we hoped it would. We still have quite some distance to go in our journey, but we are currently filled with huge relief to have cleared such an enormous hurdle. We thank each and every one of you for getting us here. We simply couldn’t have done this without you all. With love and all the gratitude in the world.”

Kate continued: “We are still in Philly while Mike is recovering from the aftermath of the T-Cell therapy, it has been a completely exhausting six weeks. I am obviously elated at his first biopsy results but know that we have many more biopsy hurdles to pass before I can believe we are truly out the other side of this. We are completely overwhelmed by everything, this has by far been our toughest battle yet. I cannot wait to get our boy home!’

Kelsea Little, spokesperson for GoFundMe.com said: “Kate’s campaign to save her husband’s life has been truly inspiring. It has been amazing to see the sheer amount of support flowing into their campaign and we are delighted to hear that Mike is making such good progress with his treatment.”

Kate Brandon, 33, from Bristol had just six days to raise the money so her husband Mike could potentially participate in a clinical trial of an investigational therapy using his own T cells at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center which could potentially cure him of cancer.

Launching the GoFundMe campaign to raise funds, Kate released a heart-felt video asking people to share his story and donate to the cause. See here: https://youtu.be/CL6FPypwm58

The campaign was such a success that it became the largest ever GoFundMe campaign ever in the United Kingdom at the time. Exceeding the £330,125 that was previously raised for pensioner Alan Barnes to buy his house and has only recently been overtaken by Jo Cox’s Fund which has so far raised in excess of 1.4million. To date, #Donate4Mike has raised an incredible £453,260 in three months, from over 22,796 individual donors.

Mike’s Story

In January 2014, one month after Mike proposed to Kate, he was diagnosed with a rare form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Mike required a stem cell transplant to stand any chance of survival so the family created the #Shake4Mike campaign to encourage more people onto the donor registry. The campaign went viral and through Anthony Nolan they found a match for Mike and on 26th June 2014, his 30th birthday, Mike received his lifesaving transplant.

Despite all the setbacks and undoubtedly the hardest year of their lives, the couple were able to get married in June 2015 as hope grew that Mike was on the mend. His condition continued to improve following the transplant and they were able to start living their lives again, both returning to work as they began to plan a family and their future.

Tragedy strikes again

Having battled through rejection of multiple anti-Cancer drugs, undergoing more than 20 gruelling bone marrow biopsies, contracting pneumonia and receiving five further infusions of cells from his donor, everyone believed Mike was on the path to a full recovery. But the day before Easter Friday Kate was given the devastating news that Mike’s leukaemia had returned and was spreading at an aggressive rate.

The campaign to save Mike

Having exhausted all of the options available to the couple in the UK, they were informed of a new clinical trial that had shown extraordinary rates of success for people with Mike’s disease who had stopped responding to standard treatments. After huge efforts to find a trial of this treatment (known as CAR T-Cell Therapy) the couple started discussions with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Centre in Philadelphia and Mike underwent extensive testing which revealed he was a suitable candidate to participate in the trial.

While the actual treatment is funded by the University, the medical costs associated with its administration must be self-funded. So the couple started a GoFundMe campaign in a bid to raise £400,000 to save his life. The GoFundMe page, to-date, has now raised over £450,000.

To support Kate & Mike, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/donate4mike

-Ends-

Notes to editors:
Assets:

About CAR T-Cell Therapy:
The CAR T Cells Trial uses genetically modified T cells to treat patients with B cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and other B cell malignancies including Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is what Mike suffers from.

Some of a patient’s own immune cells (T cells) are removed from the blood and genetically modified in a laboratory to potentially target and kill their own cancer cells. The modified cells are then grown in the laboratory and re-infused into patients.

For further press information, please contact:
Jane Eggleton
Rooster PR
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8925
E: [email protected]

About GoFundMe
GoFundMe was launched on 10 May 2010 and has quickly become the world’s most popular fundraising website for personal causes and life events, raising £1 billion since launch!

GoFundMe provides an ideal platform for people to organise their own campaign to raise money and invite those in their community to support their fundraising. People can use GoFundMe to raise money for themselves, a friend or loved one during life’s important moments. They can also share their campaign with my built-in connections via Facebook, Twitter or email.

People can use GoFundMe for things like medical expenses, education costs, volunteer programmes, youth sports, funerals & memorials – even animals and pets.

For more information, or to set up a fundraising page, visit www.gofundme.com or follow GoFundMe on Twitter or Facebook.