Colchester cancer patient raises £50,000 to beat his cancer diagnosis

Nathanael Lee celebrating after being declared in remission. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Nathanael Lee celebrating after being declared in remission. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A Colchester man has beaten cancer after raising the £50,000 he needed for treatment when he discovered it was not available on the NHS.

Mr Lee and girlfriend Emily Russell. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Mr Lee and girlfriend Emily Russell. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Nathanael Lee, of Wren Close, was 21 when he was diagnosed with late-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his neck, chest and spine.

Despite a year of undergoing four different types of chemotherapy and other treatment, Mr Lee was told at Christmas 2016 that the only way left to fight his cancer was with Nivolumab - a specific drug that would stimulate his immune system.

With an iron resolve to overcome his illness, he launched his appeal on New Year’s Eve and to his amazement, he had raised the sum within a week.

“Words cannot express how grateful I am to everyone who has supported me and who answered my call for help by donating to the appeal or fundraising; it has been overwhelming.

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“My mum, my family, my three sisters and my girlfriend Emily have been incredible.

“The kindness of family, friends and complete strangers helped to save my life.”

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Nivolumab was not available on the NHS for Hodgkin’s patients like Mr Lee because of the cost to the health service.

Despite his gruelling treatment, transplant, spinal surgery and an operation to remove his appendix, Nat has continued to work, even passing seven accountancy exams since his diagnosis.

When he was well enough, in June 2017, Nat had a stem cell transplant from an anonymous donor and this has improved his long-term chances of avoiding a relapse.

Now, almost three years after Mr Lee’s terrifying diagnosis, doctors have told him he is cancer free.

“My initial reaction on being told I am in complete remission was relief,” he said.

“Throughout this ordeal I tried to get on and live my life, but this is a huge boost and such wonderful news,”

Through donations, fundraising and sponsored events, Nat’s appeal has raised more than £79,000, smashing its initial target.

All funds remaining after Nat’s treatment has been paid for will help other young cancer sufferers through The Tom Bowdidge Foundation which has supported him and his family.

Donations can be made to Mr Lee’s Virgin Money Giving page.

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