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Newark family say thanks for the memories after mum loses cancer battle

A woman, whose family launched an appeal to fund pioneering treatment for her, has lost her battle with cancer.

Advertiser readers came together to back the plea by the children of Anita Dickens to donate towards the treatment that would extend her life.

Friends, former colleagues and many strangers contributed thousands of pounds to pay for the treatment, SIRT, which wasn’t available on the NHS.

Brian Dickens, his daughter Anika, late wife Anita, and son Edward. (51104811)
Brian Dickens, his daughter Anika, late wife Anita, and son Edward. (51104811)

It worked and extended her life to give Anita’s family more time with her, including a Christmas that her doctors initially said she would never see and, more recently, her birthday.

Anita’s daughter Anika described her mum as a fighter who didn’t know the meaning of giving up.

“Mum was told three to six months but we had nearer two years,” said Anika.

“For us as a family, that was special time that we had with her.

“Her death has left a huge hole in our family and we really miss her.”

After five rounds of chemotherapy Anita had been told her cancer had spread and she had just months to live.

However, family research discovered pioneering SIRT treatment ­— but it would cost £30,000.

Anita had started the treatment at a specialist London clinic after more than £20,000 was raised.

The first round was a huge success, shrinking the cancer to the point where it could be operated on and removed.

However, a scan before the second round revealed the treatment was no longer working and the cancer was more developed.

“She was very family-orientated who loved her bingo and afternoon teas, a devoted wife and housewife,” said Anika.

“She was just so brave. Three lots of cancer treatment in two years. She was in so much pain. It was heartbreaking.

“We will be forever grateful to everyone who gave money. She kept fighting for them.

“When the treatment stopped working, she felt she had let those people down, but of course she hadn’t.

“It was her birthday on July 26 and on July 25 we went to The Bentley Hotel in Lincoln for a three-course meal.

“She was that worn out the next day that I didn’t think she would be able to do anything, but when I saw her, she was up and about and ready for cake and her visitors.

“It was like she had planned it all for herself because it was after that I could sense she was deteriorating.

“The words that you never want to say are that it is time to stop fighting.

“Thank you to everybody. We wouldn’t have got this far without your support, which kept her outlook so positive.”

Anita’s funeral takes place at the London Road Congregational Church in Newark at 1pm on on Tuesday, to be followed by burial in the town cemetery.

Donations can be made to Beaumond House and Macmillan Cancer Care, whose support and home visits were the family’s lifeline.

Anika has organised a Macmillan Coffee Morning for her own birthday for Saturday, September 25, at the Newark Town Club on Barnbygate, from 10am and all are welcome to join her.

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