Rare cancer sufferer’s ‘last hope’ funding drive

Monya Clark

Desperately clinging on to life for the sake of her children, Kraaifontein mother Monya Clark, who is suffering from a rare cancer, has started a BackaBuddy campaign to raise funds for treatment in America.

Local doctors cannot do anything for her any more.

“In September 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 adrenal cortex carcinoma (ACC). My baby was four months old.

“ACC is an aggressive cancer originating in the cortex of the adrenal gland. ACC is a rare tumour, with incidence of one to two per million people annually.

“I had my left adrenal gland and a 1kg tumour removed, used chemo tablets with no success, had another operation to remove more tissue, then chemo.

“I had the tumour genetically tested to find how to treat it, since it’s so rare and there are no ACC specialists in South Africa. I was treated with everything to see if it could work.

“I had more chemo as it spread to my liver and lower vertebra and was told in October last year that nothing more could be done for me,” Ms Clark said.

After reaching out to other ACC patients, she was referred to Dr Antonio Fojo, from Columbia University Medical Center, New York, who is a specialist in the treatment of her unique type of cancer.

“He is my last hope,” she said.

For Ms Clark, the hardest part of her situation is waiting to die.

“You just never know when it’s going to be your last. I am so tired of being tired. I am tired of the pain. I have to live my life as if every day is the last because it could be.

“Currently, I’ve got good days and bad days but the pain is more frequent,” she said.

Ms Clark’s initial symptoms included a severe headache and fever, then after a blood test, doctors discovered it was cancer. Because the cancer is so rare, she wants to raise more awareness about it.

“I want people who might be going through the same thing to know where they can go if there is nothing more that can be done locally. I want people to know that while a cancer sufferer might look fine, you don’t know what they are going through on the inside, the agony both physically and mentally,” Ms Clark said.

She hopes to raise R150 000. By the time this edition went to print, R111 822.47 had been donated to her campaign.

Donations to Ms Clark’s campaign can be made at the following link: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/monyas-cancer-treatment – Cape Times