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Nurse appealing for help to bring sister who has stage four cancer back to UK

Emily Brown

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| Last updated 

Nurse appealing for help to bring sister who has stage four cancer back to UK

Featured Image Credit: Family Handouts

A hopeful nurse is appealing for help to bring her sister back to the UK after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer while living in Vietnam.

Serena Danson, 39, was admitted to hospital last month after suddenly falling ill while working as a teacher in Ho Chi Minh City.

She was initially found to be suffering with lung clots and deep vein thromboses, but after further tests, it was determined she had cancer.

Serena worked as a teacher in Vietnam. Credit: GoFundMe
Serena worked as a teacher in Vietnam. Credit: GoFundMe

Her sister Nicola, who works at Salford Royal Hospital, flew out to Vietnam, along with her 78-year-old mum, on 22 December so they could be with Serena following her diagnosis.

The family has remained in Vietnam since, but Nicola has now started a fundraiser with the hope of securing travel for Serena so she can return to Manchester.

On her GoFundMe page, Nicola wrote: "We were fortunate that the hospital allowed Selena to be discharged on Christmas Day so we could spend some time together."

The nurse commended the hospital and said they 'couldn't have asked for more from them', ITV News reports, but when the family returned to hospital after Christmas, they learned Serena's cancer is rare, rapidly growing and aggressive.

It has already spread to her liver and is now stage 4, and existing medical conditions mean the only way she could get home is with the support of a medical team.

Serena would require an air ambulance to get home. Credit: Caroline L Briscoe / Alamy Stock Photo
Serena would require an air ambulance to get home. Credit: Caroline L Briscoe / Alamy Stock Photo

Nicola explained: "Selena was born with a heart defect, she needed major heart surgery as a baby, and again age 9. Her existing heart condition, pulmonary embolisms and advanced cancer means the high altitude when flying means she needs close monitoring by a specialist medical team throughout the flight to keep her comfortable and reduce her risk of very serious complications.

"Whilst Selena does have medical insurance in Vietnam, it does not cover repatriation back to her own country."

Vietnam's immigration rules mean that Nicola and her mum can't stay in the country long term, and once they leave, Selena will be 'left on her own with no practical or emotional support'.

Serena's family are hoping to raise £85,000. Credit: GoFundMe
Serena's family are hoping to raise £85,000. Credit: GoFundMe

Nicola explained that 'everything is in place' for Selena's arrival back in the UK, but the cost of flying her home is 'enormous'.

The nurse has set a goal of £85,000 on the fundraiser, explaining: "Our family can raise some of the money required but not enough, we still need to raise a significant amount.

"Any donation you can make is greatly appreciated as it brings us a step closer to making Selena’s wish come true so she can spend whatever time she has left surrounded by her family and friends."

She added that any funds beyond the cost of bringing Selena home will be donated to The Christie Hospital charity in Manchester.

Nicola has so far raised more than £8,000 in donations. You can find her GoFundMe page here.

Topics: Health, Travel

Emily Brown
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