Spalding mum’s dying wish for her family

TERMINAL ILLNESS: Rebekah Dolby and sister Tasha Arnold.
TERMINAL ILLNESS: Rebekah Dolby and sister Tasha Arnold.
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A mum-of-four from Spalding faces a race against time to secure her kids’ futures after being given just 12 months to live.

Rebekah Dolby’s family are trying to raise at least £20,000 in order to pay off the mortgage on her home in Queens Road so she can give her mum Teresa (56) and children, aged between two and 13, a home for the rest of their lives.

Any help we can get from the community would be greatly appreciated

Rebekah’s sister Tasha Arnold

Two weeks ago, doctors had to tell Rebekah that a cancerous tumour found on her gullet (a long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) was inoperable and terminal.

Tasha Arnold of Nottingham (38), Rebekah’s sister, said: “My sister started to lose weight quite quickly in February or March last year and when her blood count was found to be very low, she had to go to hospital for a few blood transfusions.

“We thought it was all in the head until the doctors found a tumour in Rebekah’s gullet and after many hospital appointments, she was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus last December

“At the time, we were told that it was operable and so Rebekah had a nine-week cycle of chemotherapy.

“But just a few hours after she went into the operating theatre, the doctors found that Rebekah’s tumour was too aggressive and advanced to be operable and there was nothing they could do.”

Oesophageal cancer is the ninth most common form of the disease in the UK with more than 8,500 new cases diagnosed each year, according to NHS figures.

It most commonly affects people aged 60 and over, with about 40 per cent of people with oesophageal cancer surviving for a year after diagnosis.

Tasha said: “It’s one of the most devastating things we’ve ever had to go through and we’ve not had a chance to take it in because it’s happened so ridiculously quickly.

“Rebekah is undergoing chemotherapy now to try to shrink the tumour and doctors have also found a small blood clot on her lung.

“But my sister is showing amazing strength and courage whilst going through this and all she wants now is to go peaceably, knowing that her mum and children have a house to live in.”

Rebekah’s family and friends are organising car boot sales, raffles and other events to raise the £20,000 needed to pay off the mortgage, but they are asking for help from both the public and business community through donations, raffle prizes and hosting fundraising events.

Tasha said: “Rebekah was a big part of the community, having grown up in Royce Road, Spalding, and everybody knows our family.

“My sister used to be bubbly, outgoing and chatty, putting everyone else first despite what she’s going through now.

“She was involved at St Paul’s Church, Spalding, where her children go to Messy Church and we used to call her ‘the life and soul of Royce Road’.

“Rebekah isn’t asking for people to donate money so that she can go on holiday abroad – she just wants to know that her mum and kids are safe and taken care of.

“But raising £20,000 isn’t something we can achieve on our own, so any help we can get from the community would be greatly appreciated.”

Anyone who can help Rebekah and her family can call Tasha on 07480 932331.