For those of you who know Christine you will know that she’s always been a super positive, strong, independent person who always has a huge smile on her face. That person in the group who just radiates good vibes and goes out of her way for anyone who needs help, without ever asking for a thing from anyone.
Maybe it’s no surprise that she decided to keep this quiet and deal with everything herself without anyones support. As her boyfriend, I wanted to support her with that decision but we have since spoke and she has agreed to let me share this and try get her the support that she really needs.
Fighting cancer isn’t a battle anyone should fight alone and I want to do anything I can to make sure she knows she’s not alone. In England we are very lucky to have our NHS and the amazing standard of doctors, and they have honestly been incredible so far. Unfortunately, Christine isn’t a British citizen and we’ve all seen the warnings of how much healthcare can cost if you don’t have the NHS. Well, that’s our life right now. It costs a lot, a very unmanageable amount and we really need your help.
So let me tell you the full story...
Once upon a time… just kidding.
First let me introduce ourselves for anyone who doesn’t know the pair of us personally and may have seen this shared.
I’m Danny Dunn, from a little place near Liverpool, UK. I am a musician who spends a lot of time travelling and playing guitar for a living. I met Christine when I moved to Beijing in 2017. She was shooting a documentary in the same place where I was playing and we just hit it off and became friends straight away. Very soon after, we got together and knew we’d each found the person we wanted to spend our lives with.
In a strange turn of events I actually fell ill in China and Christine had to spend her time helping to navigate her new boyfriend through the healthcare system in Beijing. As you can guess this cost me a fortune but luckily I could afford it, I was okay and now we look back and joke about it (the taxi meter in the ambulance, the funny troubles with translating medical questions).
Two years later and we’re starting 2020, looking forward to another great year, and preparing for Chinese New Year with a difference. Christine would be spending it in England! In January she excitedly came over to the UK for the first time to finally see England and meet my friends and family. After having a great couple of weeks, and all of my friends loving her to bits, we all got the news that this pandemic had hit the UK and we would be going into lockdown.
Unfortunately due to the country going into lockdown she hasn’t really been given the opportunity to see the best the UK has to offer (besides my friends and family of course). We still found a way to joke that at least she got to see that we do actually get sun here, even it has only been experienced in the garden.
Fast forward a few months and we are still here and due to not being able to return home to China, Christine and myself can not work meaning neither of us has had a pay check since January and the savings are drying up. On top of this, we were hit with something much more concerning…
About 8 weeks ago (early May) Christine had a little health scare and after weighing up the situation with the COVID-19 outbreak we decided that regardless, we really needed to go to a hospital and speak to a doctor.
After a series of tests and us both thinking that it probably wasn’t something too serious, Christine was diagnosed with cervical cancer. This came as a huge shock to us both as she takes care of herself so well, and is always so active and full of life. Also, at 35 years old you don’t expect to hear the words ‘you have cancer’. Especially not when you are 5000 miles from home on holiday, visiting your boyfriends family.
This is where our rollercoaster journey began.
Since this diagnosis and waiting anxiously for further tests we realised that the only option was to go ahead with tests, treatment and recovery in the UK, as the country is locked down and she would also be in too much of a vulnerable position to fly and potentially come in contact with coronavirus. Fortunately we have some of the most incredible doctors and caring hospital staff so I’m so thankful that this was found while we were in the UK.
The next stroke of bad luck hit when we realised that staying for more tests and treatment meant that Christine was unable to continue to pay her rent for her apartment in Beijing which was costing over £1000 a month. Both of us losing our ability to work meant that it was unavoidable that we would have to give up the apartment. Her family, unaware of the true situation unfolding in the UK, helped to move out all of her things and a friend has stored everything for us which is amazing but bittersweet. Not only did she get trapped here, lose her job and get diagnosed with cancer but she has also now lost her home because of everything.
It just shows how in one day your life can change dramatically.
Where we are at now:
This week on June 17th we were finally transferred to Liverpool Women’s Hospital from Warrington Hospital to talk discuss the results of her recent tests. So far we had blood tests, physical examinations, cervical biopsy, colposcopy, ultra sound, MRI (further examinations are still pending).
There is some light at the end of this seemingly never ending tunnel we’ve been in. The diagnosis was Stage 1B2 cervical cancer. This means that a small tumour has been found but fortunately the cancer hasn’t spread and it was found early enough to cure her and give her back her life.
The downside is that even though they believe they can fix this and cure her of cancer, because of the size of the tumour she may need something called a Radical Hysterectomy. This means taking away her whole womb, and everything surrounding, except for her ovaries, which means that she would never be able carry her own child in the future. As a 35 year old woman, with no kids yet, this is very difficult news to hear, yet she still didn’t crack and accepted the news without fear and has still remained confident that she can beat this.
Everyone who knows Christine knows that she is a passionate vegan and does a lot of work in the vegan industries in China. From learning a lot about diet and disease in the last few years Christine decided, on the day of her diagnosis in early May, to dramatically adjust her diet even more to what is known as the disease fighting ‘plant based whole food’ diet. We know it’s not a solve all solution but that its best to give your body a better fighting chance in line with the work we know the doctors can do.
A little positivity and hope:
After discussing the next steps at Liverpool Women’s Hospital we went ahead with a final examination before booking in this life changing surgery. To the doctors surprise and ours too Christines tumour has dramatically reduced in size! This news couldn’t have come at a better time, as we were about to discuss booking the major surgery. Now we have one more chance to do a few more tests. If the news is good she may be able to have surgery that would allow her to still carry her own children.
This test is booked for next week and after that we can make the next steps to cure Christine. Whatever the outcome she will be going in for surgery very soon, and we are very confident that she will be cured.
What we need:
So here is the next hurdle. We know we can save Christines life, we know that we got it early, and it’s looking positive, we may be able to still keep hope that she can have children in the future. However, Christine isn’t a British citizen, and the NHS is not free.
This is going to cost us a dramatic amount of money and cancer charities in the UK are unable to support us because Christine is a Chinese national not British.
We already owe Warrington Hospital around £1500 for our first round of tests. Now that we have moved to Liverpool we are doing further tests which we will be paying for, and then as we’ve all seen the horror stories of hospital fees, we will have to pay for some major surgery.
We are currently trying extend Christine’s visa to leave to remain as her visa expires around the same time the surgery is due to take place. This visa will cost us around £2000 including a healthcare surcharge which would make future treatment and consultations free on the NHS (great news!). To get this paperwork in time could cost a further £800. (Unfortunately this doesn’t cover the current surgery planned but will help give us relief for future follow ups and after care)
Once we have paid all of this we have to consider Christines follow up appointments to make sure she can continue to see the amazing team at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. This means flights back to the UK throughout the next year, once she is fit to return to work and can get back home. This is just beginning of the long journey we need to go on for Christine to beat cervical cancer, and the financial weight of this is going to hit really hard.
Anything you can do to help us ease that pressure so that she can focus on beating this disease without the added stress of being horribly in debt would change our lives so much. Just as her surgery is life changing, any support we can get from you will give her the chance to have her life back.
Since I spoke to a few friends and family about this we have already received so much love and support from the people close to us. We just hope that you can join our fight and donate what you can and also share this story with everyone.
Thank you so much for reading Christine’s story:
Thank you to everyone who has already messaged with support and in advance for every single person who helps us by sharing and donating. I promise I will keep you updated every step of the way and personally message our thanks to each and everyone of you who helps us.
It’s difficult to open up and ask for people’s help sometimes but we knew that this isn’t a time for pride but a time to hold our hands up and say we really can’t do this alone.
We know we can beat this together but we honestly do need your help.
Thank you again ✌️&❤️
Danny & Christine
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