Fundraiser plea for larger-than-life mum tragically diagnosed with stage four cancer raises almost £40k in just 48 hours

A FUNDRAISER for a larger-than-life mum tragically diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer has raised almost £40,000 in just 48 hours.

Annie Filler received her devastating diagnosis in February this year, when her family were told that it had progressed to its fourth stage.

Annie Filler with husband Darren.
Annie Filler with husband Darren. (C) Darren Filler

Despite undergoing chemotherapy and a procedure on her liver, the mum from Bournemouth, Dorset, was later informed that attempts to reduce the cancer were unsuccessful and that it had spread.

Singer Annie later made the heartbreaking decision to stop treatment at the beginning of November and the family have now been informed that Annie is sadly unlikely to live past Christmas.

However, husband Darren, with whom Annie shares six children, says that the family have been offered a lifeline via medicine unavailable on the NHS, which the family hope will reduce the cancer.

However, the medicine is expected to cost a whopping £5,780 per month – leading to Darren setting up a GoFundMe campaign on Tuesday, with the aim of raising £57,800.

Darren wrote in the fundraiser description: “I would like to take a moment of your time to talk to you about my wife, Annie.

“Annie’s not like your normal lady (well not to me anyway). She’s different, very different in fact.

“Now, I know the words ‘soul mate’ are often used and if you are lucky enough to have actually met your once-in-a-lifetime, one-in-a-million partner, then you will know what I’m talking about.

“She’s that kind of special. The kind of special that lights up a room. The kind of special that makes life fun, interesting, full of colour, music, dancing, laughter and most of all, love.

“The kind of love that with one squeeze or kiss can take away any troubles and makes you feel totally contented with life. She’s my soulmate in the true meaning of the words.

“Annie is an outstanding mother to our extended family of six children. Five boys (Harry, Arthur, Fred, Finn, Huey) and one girl (Bo, who’s the youngest). They all adore her as much as she does them.

“She also sings in a trio called The Fifanellas – singing with her two life-long best friends. Music has always been a such a very important part of her/our lives.

Annie Filler in her singing trio The Fifanellas.
Annie Filler singing with The Fifanellas. (C) Darren Filler

“Sadly, back in February, Annie was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. As you can imagine, this was devastating news.

“Since then, Annie has fought this terrible disease as hard as she can. Unfortunately, she’s had some setbacks. She’s had two different rounds of chemotherapy and neither have worked.

“In fact, they said she’s one of the rare cases where it’s actually made it worse. We received the terrible news that the cancer has spread from the bowel to the lymph nodes, liver, adrenal gland and behind the heart.

“So, the NHS tried a transarterial chemoembolization procedure on the liver but again, without success.

“Early November, the heart-wrenching decision was made to stop all treatment as nothing was working and the chemotherapy was taking its toll on Annie’s quality of life.

“After fighting so hard she needed a rest. This was the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make. We were given the news that it was most likely that Annie wouldn’t make Christmas this year.

“So, we bought our Christmas forward and gathered all the children. It was a wonderfully joyous occasion.

“Annie has never stopped being positive even after this terrible news. In fact, she’s actually coping well. She’s never lost her glowing smile.

“We have since received an encouraging call from a professor at Southampton Hospital.

“He wanted us to know that there are two drugs that he thinks Annie could really benefit from – as they have shown promising results for people in Annie’s situation.

“This has given us a really positive boost and the encouragement to fight on. The drugs are called Avastin and Lonsurf but the downside is that Avastin isn’t available on the NHS (unless you live in Wales).

Annie Filler with her three dogs.
Pictured: Annie with her three black labradors, Daisy, Betty and Bear. (C) Darren Filler.

“So, it would have to be paid for privately. The second drug Lonsurf is available on the NHS but not if taken in conjunction with Avastin. Annie needs both so we will have to fund them ourselves.

“This is £5,780 per month for both. It has been suggested to us to try GoFundMe as there are lots of people who would love to help in situations like this.

“So here we are. If you can help by making a donation it would mean more than you could ever know.

“But even if you’re not in a position to make a donation and you could help by sharing Annie’s story and putting it out to as many people as possible, that also would be greatly appreciated.

“Annie really is the most wonderful person you could ever hope to meet. So, from Annie, the children, the dogs and myself, I offer you a heartfelt thank you. Any help is greatly appreciated.”

Many were quick to share their support for the family.

Mandy Baker wrote: “I really hope you raise the funds needed, and the drugs help in any way possible. Keeping you and the family in my thoughts and prayers, Annie. Love Mandy, Dean and family.”

Penny Vokes said: “Lots of love and prayers to Annie and this lovely family. Wishing you all the best with fundraising. I’ve shared this too.”

Lisa Donnelly commented: “I’m so sorry to hear about Annie – I’ve seen the band play a few times through Martin.

“Annie also very kindly gave me several bags of gorgeous fabric a few years back. Sending lots of love to Annie and your family.”

Simone Graham added: “Miss Annie is one of the best singers and performers on the scene and has brought so much music and joy to the Lindy community.

“We are thinking of you, Annie, and [are] behind you in spirit every step of the way. Much love.”

At the time of writing, the fundraiser has raised an incredible £39,789.

To donate to the fundraiser, you can visit this link: https://gofund.me/3d4241e9


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