We are setting up this crowdfunding page for our dear friend, Sharanya, who has been going through a difficult time since her first diagnosis of breast cancer in June 2017. Several people have asked us about her and ways in which they can offer help and support. We thought this website would be the simplest and easiest way to share her story and provide a way for family and friends to offer assistance.
As some of you know, Sharanya was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She faced this with immense grace and positivity. Following surgery, she spent six months undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, dealing with all the difficult side effects that these treatments entail. Despite this, throughout the diagnosis and treatment Sharanya remained calm and positive as she and her husband Barry sought to keep life as normal as possible for their two young children, Kaishori (6) and Alokhi (4).
In May this year, Sharanya began experiencing episodes of memory loss for short periods of time. She was sent for an MRI scan which revealed the unexpected news that she had a tumour and quite severe swelling in her brain. None of us foresaw this huge setback in Sharanya’s road to recovery from breast cancer, and we were all absolutely devastated.
Given the aggressive nature of the brain tumour, she had to undergo an urgent craniotomy (brain surgery to remove the tumour) within just four days of her diagnosis. The speed at which huge life-altering decisions had to be made was such that it was impossible to truly absorb what was happening. Waiting outside that operation room was the most anxious and emotional experience we have gone through together in almost thirty years of friendship. We cannot express the immense relief and joy we felt when we finally heard from the surgeon that the operation was a success. Fears of possible side effects such as speech impairment, memory loss and even partial paralysis thankfully did not materialise.
After only a short recovery time from the surgery, Sharanya had to face twenty sessions of whole brain radiation therapy. She has just completed this treatment, so it is difficult to know at this stage what the side effects will be and what the next steps may be. We will endeavour to keep you all updated on Sharanya’s progress through this page.
The rare diagnosis of breast cancer and brain cancer within a year has had a huge financial impact on Sharanya and Barry. The cost of medical treatment in Hong Kong is substantial and their current medical insurance only partially covers the cost of surgery and subsequent treatment, which requires specific and highly specialised radiation equipment that the public hospitals in Hong Kong cannot provide. Sharanya and Barry had already used a significant amount of their savings to cover the cost of breast cancer treatment earlier this year. Since Sharanya’s breast cancer diagnosis she has not been able to work and she is unlikely to until she fully recovers, therefore impacting on their income.
As her close friends, it has been heartbreaking to see Sharanya and Barry go through this experience. We were concerned at the stress that the unexpected medical bills were putting on them, on top of having to deal with the physical and emotional aspects of the diagnosis, surgery and treatment. We felt that the financial strain they were under was something that we could help to alleviate but while our financial contributions have gone some way to help them, there is still a large gap. To put this into context, the costs associated with the craniotomy were HK$380,000 (£36,600) and the radiation treatment HK$150,000 (£14,450). Sharanya will require very regular scans (MRI and PET) to monitor her illness and it is highly likely that she will require immunotherapy, which will be an expensive form of treatment. The scans will be partially covered by insurance but is unlikely that the immunotherapy will be.
Many of you have asked how you can help Sharanya and Barry. An immediate and practical way is through making a financial contribution towards the medical expenses they have incurred. Our feeling is that a small sacrifice from each of us, when combined, will go a long way to helping them. We would truly appreciate any help that you are able to give (please note that the donations are in Hong Kong Dollars).
If you would like to contact any of us directly, feel free to do so through the following email: [email protected]
Our deepest thanks,
Andrea Height Lockerbie
Annmarie Leung Thornton
Jang Hyun Yoon
Stephanie Dunn Moorhouse