Terminally-ill mum, 27, trolled for ‘looking too good to be dying of cancer’

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A terminally-ill mum has spoken out after trolls claimed she was "faking her" disease.

Jemma McGowan was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in February 2021 and has only been given until next month to live.

She was first told she had the deadly illness in 2016, while six weeks pregnant with her second child with her now-husband Clive, 40.

Now the mum-of-three has hit back at trolls who told her "she looks to good to be dying of cancer".

The 27-year-old often shares snaps of hospital visits on Instagram as she says she never leaves home without make-up and her wig.

She is finding ways to prolong her life so she can see her kids Sadie, five, Louis, two, and Betty, one, grow up.

Jemma said: "I get sent at least one nasty comment per week on social media. I regularly get told that I'm faking having cancer.

"And there's someone else who keeps telling me that I don't have terminal cancer as I look too good to be ill.

"I don't really get upset or let it get to me as what they're saying isn't true. Strangers don't know what they're talking about.

"I feel like writing back 'what more proof do you want? Do you want my blood? If I could give it to you I would!'"

The mum was just 22 when she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016.

She underwent surgery in hospital to have it removed and was told by doctors it wouldn't come back.

Jemma recalled: "I had a really bad pain on my left side.

"I went to the GP and he thought I was having an ectopic pregnancy and sent me straight to A&E.

"They told me the baby was fine but I needed keyhole surgery to remove a fibroid on my ovary when I was 17 weeks pregnant.

"They discovered it was cancer, but had said it was low grade stage 1, so I put it behind me and continued on with my life."

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Jemma didn't experience any symptoms over the next four years until she was 36 weeks pregnant with her third she found a lump.

She asked her midwife who told her to go for an MRI scan.

The mum was then admitted to hospital to receive steroid treatment to get her baby ready for an early planned C-section.

Just 24 hours after giving birth, she was told the cancer returned, this time with a tumour in her lung and multiple in her pelvis.

She went through three rounds of two different types of chemotherapy, resulting in her hair falling out as well as vomiting.

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Then in May 2021, doctors found three new tumours growing in Jemma's body as they told her the chemo wasn't working.

They advised her to "get her affairs" in order, giving her a prognosis of just 3-15 months to live.

But motivated by the desire to be a mummy to her children for as long as possible, Jemma refused to accept the diagnosis.

She said: "Chemotherapy made me very ill. It nearly killed me twice.

"I'm not asking to be a granny, I just want to be mummy. I don't want forever, I just want more time."

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Jemma started to research alternative and holistic treatment for cancer as she documents her journey on Instagram.

She also found a clinic in Mexico that offered alternative therapies for cancer but the trip would set the couple back £90,000.

The mum, who was running her own business selling used cars, launched a GoFundMe page to pay for her treatment.

Now she receives medication from Mexico every six months and then medication from London every eight weeks costing £2,500.

The brave parent feels like she is on the right path and is adamant that she is able to "heal herself" to prolong her life.

She explained: "Clive and I flew out to Mexico in June where doctors set me up with a protocol and it's all natural supplements.

"I take a lot of repurposed drugs and medicines that aren't passed by FDA so they aren’t approved or available in this country, and are in clinical trials.

"I get medication from Mexico every six months, and then medication from London every eight weeks. It costs me about £2,500 every month. The fundraising is quite literally a lifeline.

"I recently got back from going to Mexico for the second time and it's given me a reboost and encouraged me to keep on track. I don't see dying in May as an option.

"My diet is also very strict – I have no sugar, no white carbs, no cow's dairy and no meat protein. I do a lot of juicing and a lot of fasting."

Appearing in a new documentary with Stacey Dooley called Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over which airs on W on April 19, Jemma breaks down in tears as she reveals she's creating memory boxes for her three children.

She has also bought future gifts for them to open on big milestones such as their 18ths, passing their driving tests and their wedding days.

Amazingly, with her positive outlook, Jemma feels like she has been given a gift.

She said: "None of us knows what tomorrow brings. I feel like I have been given something special as I know there's a big possibility that my days are numbered. I have something special, I know our fate so I can cherish what I have left and have time to prepare."

Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over: Mum Fighting the Clock in which Stacey Dooley spends 72 hours as a house guest with Jemma will be airing on Monday April 25 at 10pm on W.

  • Cancer

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