Son who beat cancer inspires Dundonald mother with terminal prognosis

Aundrea Bannatyne in Hallwang Clinic in Germany
Aundrea Bannatyne in Hallwang Clinic in Germany

Aundrea Bannatyne, a mother of two from Dundonald, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July and told she had a maximum of 12 months to live.

Having nearly lost her son to a brain tumour, Aundrea refuses to give up without a fight, saying she’s got “too much to live for”.

Aundrea Bannatyne with her boys Jack and James

Aundrea Bannatyne with her boys Jack and James

Now at a specialist clinic in Germany, her army of family, friends and wellwishers back home are pushing for vital funds to cover the cost of potential lifesaving treatment for the 42-year-old.

Having raised an initial £100,000, Aundrea arrived at the Hallwang Clinic in Germany for an assessment on Sunday. However, specialists there made the decision based on her prognosis to start the pioneering immunotherapy treatment right away.

In order to do so Aundrea needs another £100,000 and has only a matter of weeks to raise it.

With her son James already having beaten a tumour, Aundrea has said she’s been inspired to emulate him.

“Some people never meet their heroes. I gave birth to mine. My young son James had cancer of the brain (medulloblastoma) at two. He is now 10 but and has got the all clear until he’s 12. I need to be here to see that day.”

Since diagnosis, in the space of a year, James underwent five brain operations, 10 courses of chemotherapy and 25 radiotherapy treatments. Aundrea’s role as a mother changed to that of a nurse, feeding her infant son through a tube in his nose, cleaning his central line which fed directly into his chest, injecting him daily in his leg and administering countless amounts of tablets and medicine. All while taking care of her oldest son Jack, now 14.

Aundrea’s life was turned upside down for a second time when doctors examining her found an inoperable tumour in July this year and gave her between six months and 12 months to live.

“I didn’t think lightning could strike twice,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe we’d been hit with such devastating news again. As a family James’ diagnosis wrecked us all.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d have to face this again. But I’d rather it me than one of my kids. It’s so hard though watching my kids, parents and friends watching me.”

The Dundonald woman said her sons are keeping her alive when it feels easier to give up.

“I believe a positive mind can improve your chances,” she said. “When I was given the six to 12 months prognosis I could have come home and pulled the covers over my head and simply gave up. But I’ve way too much to live for. I’ve always been a positive person. The glass is always half full.”

Aundrea will be in the clinic in Germany for the next three weeks, with her mum Lorraine remaining with her for the first week.

Back home Aundrea’s Army, a community set up to raise vital funds for her, continue to gather enough money to keep Aundrea alive.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support. I literally would be left to die without their kindness.”

Donations are welcome at www.gofundme.com/2gtranmq