THE family of a Chester mum battling cancer say they’ve been overwhelmed by love and support from people across the world.
Nicola Hitchen, 41, from Great Boughton, desperately needs to raise £50,000 in order to continue potentially life-saving treatment in Turkey.
The Leader and her sister paper The Standard both ran stories on the mum-of-two and her brave fight has now gone global with people from Canada, America, Germany and Italy donating cash.
The total on her JustGiving page has rocketed from around £6,000 to almost £30,000 in less than two weeks.
It is rumoured a prominent film director may even have made a sizeable contribution after being touched by Nicola’s plight.
The fundraising bid is being led by Clare Hitchen, the new wife of Nicola’s ex-husband Andy.
She said yesterday: “Niki, the boys, Niki’s mum Helena and step-dad Bruce along with myself and Andy have been overwhelmed by the love, support and kind messages coming through.
“It has really shown that, in this world we live in, there are still so many kind and caring people who have united in their support to help a loving mother overcome cancer and be there for her children.
“We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts.”
She said Nicola was now back in Turkey undergoing further treatment and had thanked everyone for their support so far.
“She has returned to commence her next round of treatment made possible by kind donations from friends, family and strangers from all over the world,” said Clare.
Just four months ago, doctors gave Nicola the devastating news there was nothing they could do to treat her stage four cervical cancer.
Faced with either sorting out her affairs or looking into other treatment options abroad, she chose the latter.
After five 10-day sessions at a pioneering oncology centre in Istanbul her aggressive tumour all but disappeared.
Secondary tumours also shrank considerably and one in her lungs vanished completely.
The ChemoThermia centre uses a pioneering combination of treatments to blast tumours and give the body the best chance of beating cancer.
The process has set Nicola and her family back £80,000 and with funds stretched, they chose to appeal for help to raise the final £50,000 so she can complete her treatment.
She previously told this newspaper she has been touched by the support from her parents and sons, Joseph, 14, and Jacob, 12, as well as her ex-husband Andy, who recovered from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, and his wife Clare.
“It's brought us all even closer together,” said Nicola, who works as an administrator at Oldfield Primary School in Vicars Cross.
“The support I've been given has been phenomenal, not just from my family but from complete strangers too. I didn't think people liked me that much!”
l A fundraising event has been planned to help Nicola hit her £50,000 target.
It will be held on Friday, December 1, at Boughton Hall Cricket Club between 7pm and midnight.
The night will boast a disco, a transvestite act doing 'play your cards right', solo singer Sarah Mac and a raffle with top prizes.
There are 150 places and entry is £6 on the door. Contact Clare at email@example.com to secure a place. Any businesses that can help out with raffle prizes or support are also asked to get in touch.
* To help Nicola pay for her treatment, visit www.justgiving. com/crowdfunding/nicola-hitchen
For information on fundraising events and to follow her story, visit 'Nicola Hitchen's Lifesaving Cancer Treatment' page on Facebook.