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Montreal mother launches desperate plea for help to access experimental cancer treatment

Click to play video: 'Montreal mother launches desperate plea to access experimental cancer treatment in U.S. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions' Montreal mother launches desperate plea to access experimental cancer treatment in U.S. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions
WATCH: Montreal mother launches desperate plea to access experimental cancer treatment in U.S. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions – May 17, 2020

A young South Shore mom has launched a desperate plea to help her beat a terrible diagnosis.

Natasha Dias has been diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and was given a grim prognosis.

When Dias had her second baby in 2018, the joyful moment came with devastating news.

“Two months after giving birth to my second child, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer, which tends to be a more aggressive form of negative cancer,” she said.

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Dias immediately underwent treatment: chemotherapy, radiation and a full mastectomy.

But just a week ago, she received the news no one wants to hear: the cancer has returned in her lungs. She was given 13 months to live.

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Treatment options are now limited.

“I have a handful type of chemos that will keep me alive for a few months, hopefully a few years,” she said.

As a mother of two young children, four-year-old Leyla and 19-month-old Elias, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

“I’m just not ready to go. My children are so young they wouldn’t even remember me. And I’m not ready to leave my husband to raise our children on his own. So I’m begging you for help,” Dias said fighting back tears on a social media post.

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With a lot of fight left in her, Dias launched her plea on social media, hoping to raise enough money to access an experimental treatment.

It’s not approved in Canada yet but it’s available in the United States.

It’s called trastuzumab deruxtecan, and it’s a form of immunotherapy.

There is only one study on patients with triple-negative cancer but it shows a benefit in a small number of those who don’t have many options, according to Dr. Gerald Batist, the director of the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General Hospital.

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“This a life-prolonging therapy and prolonging a life six or 10 months is not trivial. Because who knows, maybe something else more effective will come along,” Batist says.

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It’s what Melissa Dias hopes happens for her sister.

“My sister, she’s a very kind, giving, loving person. She’s never been someone who thinks just about herself. She’s always thinking about others, helping others. That’s what I want for her in return.”

In less than a week, the fundraiser has gathered about $600,0000 of the estimated $750,000 needed to cover the treatment.

“I’m overwhelmed, I’m so grateful,” Natasha Dias said with a big smile on her face. “I would have never expected it to reach so many people and to raise so much money so fast, especially during such a difficult time for everyone.”

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The next step is for her to get an oncologist in the United States so she can receive the treatment.

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