RIBBLE Valley mum Kate Anne Douglas has captured the hearts of East Lancashire with her courageous battle against cancer.
And now her old school pals from St Augustine’s School, Billington and local band Drive are staging a charity concert at the Grand, Clitheroe, to help raise money to fund potentially life-saving treatment for her.
Kate Anne, 38, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2010, just two weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Lola.
“I’ll never be able to explain how cruel that felt,” said Kate Anne.
“Being told that the most exciting time of my life was covered by the dark cloud of cancer was so difficult.”
Despite being given the all clear the disease later returned and last summer after years of gruelling treatment doctors here told her that there was nothing further they could do.
“I couldn’t accept that was it,” she said.
“I look at Lola and I have to try and be around for her, I couldn’t just do nothing.
“I’m an upbeat person, but there are dark days when it all seems so hard, but then I’m lifted by people’s incredible generosity.”
With the help of friends and family and people she had never even met, Kate Anne launched a fundraising page to try and gather funds needed to send her to the Hallwang Oncology Clinic in Germany for the costly treatment not available in Britain.
“They say that you are only as strong as the people around you, but complete strangers have donated thousands of pounds to the fund. I’m just so grateful.
“I must say thank you a million times a day.”
Kate has raised an incredible £200,000 and plans to be at the ‘Keeping Kate’ charity gig on April 8.
She said: “Last summer, doctors told me to book a holiday and enjoy what time I had left because they said that they had run out of treatment options and that I wouldn’t survive until Christmas.
“The cancer had spread to my bones, liver and lungs.”
However, after several visits to the clinic, Kate said the results are very encouraging.
She said: “I’ve been having treatment in Germany for four months and they’ve reduced some of the tumours by 50 per cent, so that’s amazing.
“I’ve still got cancer and I know that I’m probably only buying time with this treatment.
“It is not a miracle cure, but I’ve seen lots of miracles walk out of that clinic.
“I’m in the last chance saloon, and you never know do you?
“But if this works it will give hope to so many people who are living with this devastating disease, that has taken the life of so many friends that I have met on this journey.”
Kate Anne added: “A few years ago there was no treatment for AIDS, but now they can keep the disease at bay with drugs and who is to say that will not happen with cancer.
“I just want to stay on this planet for my Lola and where there is life there is hope.
“I have a lot to live for and I’m hoping and praying that I will continue to get better.”
Drive have agreed to play for free and lead singer Ric Howarth, who was at school with Kate Anne, said: “She has inspired so many people and it is inspirational that Kate has raised so much when she is so ill.
“We just wanted to do something to help and hopefully as many people as possible will come to the Grand to support Kate Anne who is a wonderful person.”
Keeping Kate Charity concert, Drive and DJ Domenico Marte at the Grand Theatre, April 8. Call 01200 421599 for tickets.
For more on Kate Anne’s journey, or to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/keepingkateanne