Sharon Dunster Foundation
Never, Never, Never, Give Up
Sharon Dunster Foundation is a charitable organisation devoted to raising awareness and fund raising for research into the rare cancer - mucosal melanoma.
65 year-old Sharon Dunster lost her 11 month baffle with a little-known aggressive cancer which has prompted her husband of 45 years to begin a fund-raising campaign to support research into the silent but deadly Mucosal Melanoma.
Unlike the well-known Melanoma, which is a cancer on the outside of the skin, Mucosal Melanoma cancer grows inside with no obvious identifiable risk factors and, therefore, is quite advanced once identified. In the known malignant Melanoma Cancer, now the fifth most common cancer in the UK, more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year. Mucosal Melanoma takes approximately 1% of that figure, which equates to 20 people but, undoubtedly, this number is rapidly increasing.
Doctor Crook stated, "Despite progress in treating this type of Cancer, Mucosal Melanoma remains a challenging and difficult disease to address with poor clinical outcomes. Many and varied approaches to manage this condition are urgently needed but can only come from a better understanding of Mucosal Melanoma. The aims of the research, which will be funded by donations, is to apply genomic and epigenomic analysis to the tissue archived at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. We are confident this technology combined with the clinical and pathological expertise at Broomfield Hospital and our collaborating institutions, Imperial College, London and St Luke's Cancer Centre, Guildford, will generate numerous insights into the disease and thereby open up new opportunities to treat those affected at present and in future by this particular form of Cancer."
Tim Crook and Steve Dunster have now seconded a young female doctor on to a three-year research programme into Mucosal Melanoma for her PhD and this is not NHS funded. The cost for this is £88,000
Sharon and Steve ran an engineering company in Chelmsford and lived in Great Baddow for over 40 years. They found out Sharon had Cancer in January 2016, ironically they had both decided to retire the December before as they had both just reached 65.
Initially the prognosis was the worst and there was no hope, the surgeons in Ipswich reviewed her case and said there was a chance but it meant radical surgery removing the tumours and her Vagina. Sharon received fantastic treatment from the NHS and had 34 days in Ipswich Hospital, the longest that anyone had been in for this operation. She was fitted with two Stoma bags (she called them Wendy and Windy much to all the nurses and consultants amusement) During her 34 days she nearly died, the operation took 8 hours and she bled out immediately after the operation in intensive care, her wound filled with urine so they had to fit a stent in the stoma, she had a further two bags fitted to relieve the pressure on her urine system, These are fitted by putting tubes into your Kidneys. When they removed her stitches she split open (you could put your hand into the wound) she was re-stitched again.
Sharon and Steve were told she was clear and they had got it, they both went home and had a couple of months getting used to their new lives, not the retirement they had expected. It was not to be and one of her scars became inflamed so it was back to Ipswich to check. Bad news, it was back.
They were sent back to Tim Crook at Broomfield Hospital, Sharon started a course of Immune Therapy the latest treatment that attacks cancer, Sharon could not have this at first as the tumours were so large they did not have time to try and shrink them with Immune Therapy. Surgery was the ONLY option.
It looked good she was two sessions into the treatment but the new cancer became very aggressive and took her.
11 months she fought and took everything not crying once while in hospital.
The Cancer she had is called Mucosal Melanoma. It is very rare and the NHS does not fund research into it. As you probably know Melanoma is a cancer on your skin outside.
Mucosal Melanoma is a cancer that grows inside the warm mucous parts of the body genitals, nose and oesophagus.
The Dunster family raised £5,000 and Tim Crook Sharon's consultant matched this £5,000 with his own money. He carries out research at the Imperial College London. Now between the Dunster family and Tim Crook a young doctor has started a 3 year research program into Mucosal Melanoma for her PHD. This is NOT NHS FUNDED.
We believe it is the first, only and largest research into Mucosal Melanoma Cancer to be done in the UK.
Tim crook the consultant has had ethical release and has now managed to get 60 samples called blocks from previous people that have died of this disgusting cancer in the last 10 years.
We are committed to raise the £88,000 required to fund the 3 year PHD to help other people who have to walk the road Sharon and her family have had to walk.
Thanking you in advance for any help you may be able to give us.
Registered Charity Number 295895
How You Can Help
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One of the main reasons Sharon Dunster Foundation was founded in 2017 was to raise money to fund research into mucosal melanoma. We’ve dedicated a lot of man-hours and invested countless resources to this charitable cause, and hope you’ll help us further our work. If you would like to make a donation please click 'Donate' above.
Would you like to help the Sharon Dunster Foundation? We have several volunteer opportunities, so why not get in touch? We spend a significant portion of our resources on raising awareness and funds for this little known cause. See how you can help by reading more or contacting us today.