Brisbane teenager Paige Simpson starts Gofundme page to help pay for brain cancer treatment
A Brisbane teenager is in the battle of her life after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer.
In August last year, Paige Simpson woke one to morning to find the right side of her face wasn’t working.
The 17-year-old began to panic; she thought she may have had a stroke.
But her GP suggested it might be Bell’s palsy, a weakness in one side of the face caused by nerve damage. It can last up to six months.
Paige was told to wait a few months and see if it improved.
“It was definitely a self-esteem killer,” she told 7NEWS.com.au.
“I was obviously very scared.”
But two months passed and there was no improvement.
Two weeks after her 18th birthday she underwent an MRI, which revealed a tumour on the right side of her brainstem.
“It was a sinking feeling in my stomach
She was immediately sent for a biopsy on her brain.
Paige was diagnosed with stage 4 brainstem glioma, a cancer that mostly affects children and young adults.
“It was a sinking feeling in my stomach, but the thing that really gets you is your family, seeing your family distraught is really gut wrenching,” she said.
Paige underwent 35 rounds of radiation and then oral chemotherapy.
It’s been seven months and the tumour has barely decreased in size.
Her treatment plan has changed, she is now being given Avastin – a tumour-starving medication – and more chemotherapy.
The treatment has been successful in shrinking the tumour, but has caused fragmenting and the cancer is now in her spinal fluid.
Paige’s oncology team want to try a new immunotherapy, which is not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia, meaning her family will have to find some way of funding the injections, which costs $6000 each.
Her mother Carolyn has started a Gofundme page in the hope of raising $70,000 to help pay for the therapy.
She said it was lifesaving medicine. At the time this article was published, they had raised $46,000.
Paige is optimistic about her treatment. Her positive mindset has helped her get through the past six months, and she knows it will help her through the next hurdle.
“Something I can take away from this is how much it’s improved my mental health. I can appreciate everything so much more, I was just a normal 17-year-old, I would say it’s kind of made me pull my head in a little bit,” she said.