Parents spend 150,000 on pioneering surgery to save their daughter from rare brain tumour… and then thousands more helping her conceive
Treatment left Laura Wright infertile and she needed 7 cycles of IVF
When medical treatment fails, a mother’s love and devotion can be just as powerful.
When Sandra and Rob Margetts were told by doctors in the UK that they couldn’t save their daughter Laura Wright from a brain tumour they refused to give up hope.
Laura, 34, had been struck down by the rare tumour and the operation to try and reduce it caused her to have a massive stroke, and doctors said there was nothing more they could do.
Happy family: Laura, centre with her mother Sanda Margetts, right, and her husband Rob with their sons Felix and Ben. Her parents paid 150,000 for pioneering treatment in the USA to save their daughter's life
So the couple paid 150,000 for pioneering treatment in the USA – as a last chance of hope to save their daughter’s life.
The treatment was successful, but it left Laura unable to have the family she desperately wanted.
So the loving family stepped in once again – and funded the 25,000 cost of seven cycles of IVF treatment to give their daughter the two sons she had dreamed of.
Mrs Wright, who lives with her husband Rob, 38, in Liphook, Hampshire, said: ‘I just can’t find the words to thank my mum and dad for what they have done for me.
‘They have never given up on me, and because of them I can have the life I’ve always dreamed of.
‘I’m still alive and I have the two most gorgeous sons. And its all thanks to mum and dad who have made it all happen for me.’
Mrs Wright first started suffering from headaches in the summer of 2001 when she was working as a school PE teacher.
She went to see her GP who referred her to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford who said there was nothing wrong.
But she still kept suffering from blurred vision and headaches, so she went for a private MRI scan, which revealed that she had a brain tumour.
Mrs Wright said: ‘I was so shocked when I was diagnosed. All I could think of was it shouldn’t be happening, I was only 26. I had my whole life ahead of me. I was so frightened, I thought I was going to die.’
Laura having treatment for her tumour in Boston, USA. Mrs Wright first started suffering from headaches in the summer of 2001 when she was working as a school PE teacher
She underwent an operation at the Atkinson Morley Hospital in London to remove part of the tumour, and then doctors decided to remove the rest of the tumour in a second operation in April 2004.
But during the second operation, Mrs Wright suffered a stroke that was so severe that she couldn’t talk and was paralysed down her right side. Because she had suffered the stroke during the operation, the surgeons had been unable to remove the rest of the tumour.
It took Mrs Wright five months before she could even get out of her wheelchair and take her first steps being helped by physiotherapists. Doctors told her there was nothing more they could do for her, as they couldn’t risk operating on her again.
But her parents refused to give up. They spent hours on the internet and eventually found Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA, where doctors had found a way of shrinking tumours by bombarding them with radioactive proton particles.
The pioneering treatment would cost 150,000, but it could have left Mrs Wright infertile. Her parents sent her brain scans off to the clinic and they agreed to help.
She said: ‘I had always wanted a family so I didn’t want to be left infertile, but I knew this was the only chance to save me, and mum and dad never hesitated to step in and help.’
She went to the USA in January 2005 and underwent the treatment which took eight weeks. It finished in March that year, and the treatment had managed to successfully halt the growth of the tumour.
Mrs Wright said: ‘I was just so relieved when the treatment was a success. It had given me my life back. It was my only chance of survival, and now I could look forward to living my life again.’
The treatment had left Mrs Wright infertile, but again her family refused to give up hope as they knew how desperately their daughter wanted to be a mother.
Mrs Wright said: ‘I had always desperately wanted to have a family. I was so thrilled that I was still alive after the brain tumour and I was so grateful for that. But every time I saw a pregnant woman I just felt a huge longing to be a mum myself.’
The family funded the first IVF treatment for their daughter, and the first cycle was a success. She fell pregnant with their son Felix, now four.
Mrs Wright said: ‘When I gave birth to him I stared at him for hours because I couldn’t believe that he was actually mine. After everything that had happened I was finally a mum.’
The couple decided to try for another baby, but this time it took six attempts at fertility treatment before Mrs Wright finally fell pregnant again. She gave birth to her second son Ben in August 2010.
She said: ‘We didn’t give up hope, and my family were behind us, supporting us all the way. When I fell pregnant again, we were all so thrilled. When Ben was born, it was as though my life was complete.
‘The doctors may have given up on me but my family never did, and its thanks to them that I’m still alive. It has been a lot of money to save me and to pay for the IVF treatment, but my parents wanted to help me more than anything.’
Mrs Wright is now concentrating on being a mum. She has to wear a special support called a SAFO, from Dorset Orthopaedic, on her right leg, but she can walk and even drive using a specially adapted car.
Mrs Margetts added: ‘Her brain tumour would have grown without treatment and nothing could have been done to save her.
‘We luckily had savings to make this possible for Laura, and it was worth every penny to save her and to see her be a mother.’
There is hope that proton therapy may become available in the next few years funded by the NHS.