When Haley Myles gave birth to daughter Ava last year it really was a miracle – and now she is hoping for a second one so that she can watch her grow up.
Forced to have a hysterectomy aged 23 and left with just a quarter of her womb, she had resigned herself to never becoming a mum.
Yet just five months after the op, she found out she was expecting.
Haley and partner Ryan McShane were overjoyed when they beat the medical odds to welcome Ava.
But as she celebrates her first birthday on Wednesday, Haley does not know how many more she will share.
Now 25, she has advanced cervical cancer – and her best hope of beating it is a £50,000 course of drugs not available on the NHS.
Today, Haley makes a plea to our readers to help fund the treatment and give her a future with Ava.
She said: “I hate asking for help but this is my life. My little girl needs her mum but it’s money I just don’t have. I never thought I was going to have Ava so I have even more of a reason to fight it.
“I’ve had one medical miracle, why can’t I have another? I’m only 25 and I have so much I want to do. I want to marry Ryan and have Ava walk down the aisle with me as a flower girl. We want to enjoy being a family. I can’t bear the thought of Ryan bringing up Ava without me.”
Haley, from Carluke, South Lanarkshire, had her hysterectomy in February 2017 due to severe endometriosis – a painful disorder affecting tissue lining the uterus.
Miracle child Ava was six months old when her cancer was diagnosed. Last month she was told it was stage four and had spread to her bowel.
On average only a fifth of patients with stage four cervical cancer live more than five years.
Yet pioneering immunotherapy is giving new hope.
A University College London trial found a quarter of women either went into complete remission or had tumours shrink significantly.
Haley said: “This has given me real hope. I refuse to die. I’m already thinking of Ava’s first day at school, so not being here isn’t an option. At first, I was crying loads in front of Ava. I can usually control myself but I couldn’t and she could sense it.
“Now, I think, ‘We’re going to do it’. But it’s a race against time as it spread very quickly to my bowel.”
Haley had several abnormal smear tests and was being checked every six months before her op. But she says she was not checked after it.
She said: “I wish I’d had another test but I didn’t get reminders.
“I assumed because I’d had a huge op in that area everything was being checked. I moved house and I’ve been wondering if reminder letters went to my old address.
“I’d say to other women, if you think there is something wrong and you’re not due a smear test, ask for one. Fight for it.”
Haley, a pharmacist, went to her GP when she began bleeding heavily ten weeks after the birth. A smear last June was clear – but she fears the bleeding skewed the result.
She was diagnosed after paying for a private scan. Haley said: “It was a total shock to hear the word cancer. I phoned Ryan and burst out crying.”
Haley had six rounds of chemo but had a severe allergic reaction. She said: “Everything hurt. But my prognosis seemed good.”
Yet Haley’s world crumbled four weeks ago when medics told her the chemo had failed.
They also said options were limited due to her chemo reaction. Radiotherapy is also a risk after her womb op.
Haley said: “When you hear ‘stage four’ you think, ‘That’s it.’ I still find it hard to use those words. The doctors make you aware of everything. I said, ‘What else is available?’ They said I could try immunotherapy but I couldn’t get it on the NHS.”
Haley and Ryan researched it online but were floored when they discovered the cost. She said: “We looked into a bank loan but I’m on sick pay at work so it wouldn’t be approved.”
A week later, pals set up a fundraising page. One friend’s dad donated £5,000. The total so far is £15,000. Haley is using herbal remedies and cannabis oil while trying to find the other £35,000.
She said: “I try not to look at the page too much but people have been so generous. I just feel guilty and I wish I didn’t have to ask. I understand the NHS can’t fund everything but there is research to support this.”
Haley plans to go to Germany or Mexico for the treatment but knows she faces a race against time.
She said: “If I don’t have this soon, it might get to the point where doctors say it’s not worth treating me any more.
“On my good days we have a joke. I say to Ryan, ‘Imagine you had to get Ava dressed without me? You’d have no chance.’ But Ava is my little miracle and she really needs her mum.”
You can donate to Haley’s cause here.
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