· See update, ‘Roz’s treatment to be NHS-funded’
by Ken Ferguson and Simon Whittle • As many of you will know by now, long-time Scottish Socialist Voice journalist Roz Paterson was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer, Large Diffuse B-Cell Lymphoma.
After four unsuccessful bouts of chemotherapy last year, Roz has been given the terrible news that she has just weeks, maybe months to live.
With the specialist therapy Roz needs (CAR T-cell therapy) unavailable in Scotland—and she’s not eligible for such care in England—Roz’s only hope lies with treatment in Boston in the USA.
That costs money. A lot of money. Half a million pounds, in fact. And this is where you come in…
Okay, it’s a seemingly daunting amount of cash to raise, but people have responded immediately. Since Roz went public with her news and launched a crowdfunding campaign, over £250,000 has been raised in the first ten days alone, with the Go Fund Me page currently approaching £100,000.
People now realise, this is doable, and that’s spurring everyone along with a massive fundraising drive, with every cash-raising idea imaginable being suggested and acted upon. From bake sales, to fundraising gigs, auctions, raffles, you name it… as well as good ol’ fashioned donations, of course.
Scale of support
An initial media drive saw Roz’s story beamed into Scotland’s homes with a piece on STV News, a special column by the woman herself in the Sunday National, and local media from Beauly—where Roz lives with husband Malcolm and their kids, Thea and David—to Glasgow, where they used to live, and scores of websites and individual profiles, pages and groups on social media carrying the message forward: we can do this!
Roz has been taken aback and enthused by the scale of support. She told the Voice: “I’m moved beyond words by the response to this crazy, madly ambitious appeal, and by people’s drive and determination.
“I hope CAR T-cell therapy will come on-stream for NHS patients in Scotland—it’s a major breakthrough in cancer treatment, and will save thousands of lives; people’s children, mums, friends… people.
“I have real hope now, thanks to all those fivers and tenners, which I know is a lot of money for some. Thanks for this! I hope I can do the same for someone else one day.”
Roz added: “My time at the Voice office was one of the best experiences of my life. The people I met and worked alongside astonished me with their strength, humour and compassion, and I guess it’s no surprise that the comrades have dug so deep.”
We can only keep digging deep, and echo the love and sentiments at working alongside Roz, wish her all the best as she prepares to head over the Atlantic for her initial assessment in Boston, and haste her back to full health as soon as possible (not least so she can continue to write her wonderfully informative and important environmental pieces for us, in between bouts of enjoying time with the kids and keeping Malcolm in line).
As wonderful as the fundraising response has been so far, there’s still a long, long way to go to reach the £500,000 target Roz needs to actually receive the treatment in Boston. The time to stop scratching your head and raise some money for Roz is right now!
‘Desperate to stay alive’
As Roz states in her crowdfunding appeal, “I am pretty desperate to stay alive. I have two young children and, like any mother, I want to see them grow up…
“I want to see who’ll they’ll become, I want to be there to give them love and support, and to hold my grandchildren. We’re a very little family, and need each other very much.
“My situation is about as urgent as it could be. My consultant talks in terms of ‘weeks, maybe months,’ and the cancer is at an advanced stage.
“If you can help me at all, help me today, because this disease is not slowing down for anyone.”
• EDIT: See update, ‘Roz’s treatment to be NHS-funded’