Sometimes all we need is a helping hand. And sometimes that helping hand comes from the most unlikely of sources.
For Nicola Hitchen, a 41-year-old mother of two from Chester, United Kingdom, help came in the form of her ex-husband’s new wife after learning her battle with cancer was a matter of life or death.
‘Niki’ began experiencing “excruciating pain” in her abdomen last spring. She sought help from doctors who advised that her pain was simply her body healing from a previous operation. It wasn’t until she was admitted into intensive care that doctors were able to identify an abscess on her cervix, which was soon diagnosed as stage 2 cervical cancer.
In just a matter of weeks, her stage 2 cervical cancer rapidly progressed to stage 4, and doctors informed Niki that her tumor was inoperable. They gave her just months to live.
But with her 12- and 14-year-old sons on her mind, Niki was not going to give up that quickly. She traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, where a Chemothermia center uses a combination of chemotherapy and targeted heat therapy to treat stage 4 cancer like Niki’s. The success rate is “exceptionally high.”
After five 10-day sessions of therapy in Istanbul, her aggressive tumor has all but disappeared, along with nearly all of Nicola’s finances. Having spent more than £80,000 ($106,000) on treatments, and knowing future follow-up treatments will ring in at £10k per trip, Niki’s family is running low on funds.
Enter: Clare Hitchen. Niki’s ex-husband’s new wife.
“Niki recently told me that they have big ‘decisions’ to make as the money is running out and she may not be able to continue with her life-saving treatment,” Clare wrote on a crowdfunding page for Niki that has since raised £52,202. “I feel this is not an option.”
The mother of two was knocked completely speechless at the generous effort made on her behalf.
But Clare says that Niki is an amazing mom to her sons, Joe and Jake, and her decision to help, mom-to-mom, was a no-brainer.
“The boys need their Mum and she deserves the chance to watch them grow into men and have their own families.”
They may not be a traditional family, but their relationships are everything. Clare says together, they will beat this cancer.
“Niki continues to put them first throughout all of her treatment. Joe and Jake are also amazing big brothers to our 3-year-old daughter and she adores them as they do her. We can do this!!!”
As for Niki, the response from people who have stepped up to care for her and her family has totally blown her away.
“I’m completely overwhelmed—everyone, especially Clare, has been amazing,” she said. “It’s brought us all even closer together. The support I’ve been given has been phenomenal, not just from my family but from complete strangers too.”