Terminal cancer patient's plea for five more years with teenage son

A mother with terminal cancer hopes to have five more years with her only son who turned 15 yesterday.

Friday, 28th July 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:28 pm
Helen, Luke and Stephen

Helen Harber, of The Green, Werrington, is seeking to raise £70,000 for new treatment which will extend her life so she can spend it with son Luke who has Down’s Syndrome.

Helen (52), who has had cancer six times, hopes taking the drug Olaparib, which the NHS will not fund, will allow her to live long enough to marry fiancée Stephen who she proposed to last year after being told she might have not long left.

“I said to my partner I had weeks to live. That’s when I proposed to him, in the ICU at Peterborough City Hospital. He said ‘yes’ immediately,” she recalled.

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Helen Harber with son Luke

“We were in shock, especially he was. A nurse had just told him I did not have long left. We did not stop crying together.

“It was the worst day of my life, but there was a tear of happiness he was going to marry me.

“He is so supportive.”

Since 2005 Helen has twice had breast cancer - requiring a lumpectomy and double mastectomy - and had four uterine cancers, one of which took months to discover due to a misdiagnosis, while she has also had her ovaries removed.

Helen with Luke , Stephen, Helen's mum Shirley and dog Marley. EMN-170724-175048009

Her battle to regain her health have included 10 months of only liquids fed through a line in her chest, and now she suffers with tremendous pain after eating.

Throughout all of this Helen’s inspiration is Luke, whose future she worries about if she is not there to look after him.

“What keeps me going is to see my son turn 16,” she said.

“My son does not know his real dad. He has no family around. I worry about his future, I really do.

Helen Harber with son Luke

“He knows mummy is seriously ill. He has seen me in pain an awful lot now and he gets emotional about it.

“I would really be happy with five more years.”

Helen is also hoping to survive her mum Shirley, stating: “I don’t want to die before mum has. She has already buried two children.”

For now, Helen is putting her energy into her You Caring page to raise the £70,000 for the drug her doctor feels could be very effective.

Helen with Luke , Stephen, Helen's mum Shirley and dog Marley. EMN-170724-175048009

“I do not know anyone who has had cancer six times,” she said. “I’m going to fight as much as I can. That’s the only thing you can do.”

Soon, Helen will choose a date for her wedding, and unsurprisingly she has the whole day mapped out, with her dream to have the ceremony in a marquee, near a lake.

“There would be a big barbecue. It would be just really fun, like a fête, with wildflowers for my bouquet and a bit of camping and music,” she added.”

To help Helen raise the £70,000, visit: https://www.youcaring.com/helenharber-830039.