A STUDENT has spoken out about how her family’s life descended into chaos following her father’s rare lung cancer diagnosis – and the challenge they are facing to raise money to send him to America for revolutionary treatment.

Macy Youngman (20) from Ponteland, has been looking after her father Ian (54) with her mother, Sarah.

Ian, a self-employed photographer who has worked across the North-East, was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer, ALK+, caused by a genetic mutation, in July 2017.

Macy said their lives had been on hold for three and a half years as she and her mother helped him in his battle against the disease.

“For the past three and a half years, me and my mum have literally put everything on hold,” she said.

“When something like this happens, you go into flight or fight mode and it’s just an innate thing to keep someone alive. He means the absolute world to so many people.

“He’s my best friend and we’ve always been a close family. We’ve always put family at the heart of everything.

“With this kind of illness, time isn’t on your side at all. Dad’s health can change within minutes or hours, and how quickly I’ve seen him become really poorly is quite terrifying.”

Non-smoker Ian first sought medical advice in 2016 following a continuous cough and pain in his chest, but the cancer was not picked up until the following year despite repeated visits to his GP. Since diagnosis of his ALK he has since been administered medication to target the mutation, but this is costly and has limited efficacy.

An MRI scan in 2017 showed the cancer had spread to Ian’s brain. In 2019 and 2020 he underwent Stereotactic Radiotherapy which successfully removed metastases from his brain. But operations on the lower lobe of his lung have so far been refused.

Macy said: “For me and my family, knowing that he was getting worse yet him being sent away was such a difficult time. We knew there was something very wrong and our lives were in absolute chaos.”

Macy has set up a fundraiser which aims to raise £300,000 for her dad’s treatment. Currently, the Youngmans must pay £5,032 every 28 days for a targeted therapy which aims to inhibit the ALK+ mutation, which they say has been refused by the NHS as Ian does not meet the correct criteria due to his previous treatments.

They are also exploring the possibility of pioneering immunotherapy only available in the United States which will cost approximately £200,000.

Macy said: “We’re hoping that the next step is to use a new form of immunotherapy in the United States, as once this treatment runs out there aren’t a whole lot of options provided in the UK.

“The little bit we’ve been able to raise so far has made an enormous difference. The support means so much to us. Hopefully the fundraiser will keep going the way it is going.”

You can find out more information and donate to Macy’s fundraiser at https://www.gofundme.com/f/ians-cancer-treatment-nhs-stopped-treatment?member=9834232&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer