Westgate couple’s plea for help as they face living costs struggle after aggressive cancer diagnosis

Adele and Tara on their wedding day

A couple from Westgate whose lives have been turned upside down by a devastating cancer diagnosis say they now also face a financial struggle to stay afloat.

Last month residential care worker Tara Ahmed, 28, was diagnosed with Triple Negative invasive breast cancer. This is an uncommon form of breast cancer that is usually more aggressive and harder to treat than other types.

It’s known as triple negative because it lacks three molecules called receptors which are for oestrogen, progesterone and epidermal growth. This presents an issue as the most effective breast cancer treatments work by targeting receptors.

Treatment for the triple negative cancer means radiotherapy, chemo and/or surgery.

Tara and Adele

Tara started a four month course of chemo at QEQM Hospital in Margate today (November 15).But, because her chemo sessions are once every week – then reducing to fortnightly -Tara will not be strong enough to continue working during this time.

Wife Adele, also 28 and a care residential worker, said: “One day Tara gave herself a check and found something and I told her to book an appointment. She kept saying it was nothing but I told her to do it anyway. We went to the hospital and she had a mammogram and biopsy and then eight days after that we went to Kent & Canterbury Hospital and they gave the diagnosis.

“The stage we are at now is starting chemotherapy. Tara is also one of 1600 women who have been offered a new drug treatment (called Pembrolizumab) which has a better outcome. This meant the chemo started later than planned because she had t wait so she could have the drug too.

“The triple negative cancer is quite progressive. Tara does get down but she is trying to stay positive and has been blogging about her journey.”

Tara and Adele met when they both started Year 7 at Ursuline school in Westgate and became the best of friends. Over time this blossomed into a relationship and the pair moved into their Westgate home.

In January 2020 Tara and Adele were married but could not go on their honeymoon to Greece until this year due to the covid pandemic restrictions.

Adele said: “We go about our lives thinking our loved ones are invincible and that it’s something that will never happen to you. Tara is just 28 years young. I’m truly heartbroken, afraid and feel totally helpless.

“Since receiving this terrible news, Tara has remained so positive, and her sheer strength and faith has me in awe. She has such an immense determination and desire to fight this dreadful disease and I’m so proud of her each and every day.

“Her bravery astounds me and she has even began blogging her journey on social media – she is just at the beginning of a long and tough journey ahead. Intense chemotherapy will last for four months. The goal is to shrink the tumour adequately enough for a lumpectomy to be performed.”

With Tara being unable to work while she is having treatment – although she has stayed at work up until this point- the couple now face a struggle to keep on top of living costs.

Tara is entitled to statutory sick pay but this equates to less than £400 per month. Claims for other sickness benefits could take up to three months to process and may well be rejected because Adele has an income.

Adele said: “Any chance of support or help from the government is highly unlikely due to the fact that I have an income: it is taking 3 months to process claims of which we’ll inevitably be told we have no entitlement. The system beggers belief and is a complete minefield which we are finding totally overwhelming.

“I desperately want to be home and supporting Tara every step of the way through her difficult journey and it breaks my heart I am going to have to work even longer hours to support us both.

“We rely on both our incomes for the rental of our flat, bills and food. I want Tara to focus on her health and recovery and not have to worry about whether we can afford to live.

“I am picking up all the overtime I can but I am panicking. I don’t want to be working all the time because I want to be at home with Tara.

“I don’t want to show the panic but I am struggling.”

The couple do have the support of family and a Macmillan Cancer Care nurse but are hoping that a recently launched fundraiser might help give them some financial security as well.

Adele said: “We are entering a recession with a huge cost of living crisis and times are tough for everyone but any donation no matter how small would be hugely appreciated in helping to relieve all the worry and burden of trying to exist.”

Adele hopes they may be able to raise enough to buy a good quality wig – which costs around £300 – as Tara has been told she will lose her hair during the chemotherapy treatment.

Adele, who has praised the NHS for her wife’s speedy diagnosis and tests, says if

Tara’s treatment is successful and there is money left over the couple will donate it to cancer charities.

To find the fundraising page click here

Find Tara’s blog diary here

26 Comments

    • NHS has only been concerned with Covid for years. GP’s refuse to see people & waiting lists are insane.

      Many who needed operations & cancer treatments that have been waiting in pain had theirs cancelled or delayed again due to the NHS deciding the funeral of a 96 yeah old billionaire leech was more important than the plebs not long ago.

  1. What happened to basic human empathy? If you bother to read the article before spluttering in outrage you can answer your own question.

  2. Also.. the DHSS can be found in the late 80s.. because it’s not been a thing since then. It’s been DWP for over 20 years.

    Anyway.. best wishes to both of them.. I hope their fundraiser helps them out as times are really hard at the moment and no one deserves this.

  3. If they email me info@jackpackman.co.uk I can put them in touch with Kay Gordon at SEK who supports people in these circumstances

    Alternatively call 0300 302 0178 and speak to Connect Well East Kent and they can refer you direct to Kay! She has access to all sorts of funds to support during this dreadful time xxx

    If someone can get these details to them then we will do all we can to help and support not just financially but also with well-being, family support and more

  4. I’m Tara, from the article. Unfortunately I now have to cut down my 50+ hours a week of work due to not being able to physically stand up let alone work in the industry I work in. A go fund me was the last thing I or my partner ever wanted to do, but unfortunately we’re not entitled to anything until I drop my hours, which I’ll be doing as from this week. We currently live in a society we’re the poor and the ill are no longer able to be helped to the need they need. I’m not wanting a hand out from anyone but by sharing my story not only do I get the chance to not have to worry about working myself to the bone to make sure we’re not homeless by Christmas, I also get to share my story which could help multiple people save their own lives. So please, read the article before judging and in all honesty, don’t take it out 2 hard working individuals for needing help when the government we’re under don’t help people like me. Always be kind cause you never know what someone is going through.

    • Yes Tara, sadly the work hard & we will help/look after when you are ill you mantra drummed into us is total nonsense when it happens-then you are treated like a second class citizen & made to feel worthless.

      This happened to my father decades ago when he was injured on the job & unable to work & was told he was entitled to nothing, just to tide him over until he healed & could work again & made to feel like he was trying to sponge-thankfully work colleagues came to the rescue.

      But what a country we live in where people working 40 hours a week have to rely on food banks to eat because the money is so abysmal & not keeping pace with inflation etc, that fund me’s have to be made because the system refuses to help & the government want to punish them, while rewarding millionaires & due to a couple of weeks of stupidity have crashed the economy & then backtracked on their stupid pledges anyway.

  5. Many people around the UK are struggling but silently. What about them? What makes Tara so special?

    • Perhaps no-one should be struggling and faced with the choice of having life-saving treatment but no home or no treatment so you can keep the home but then likely be terminal. A bit of compassion might not go amiss, for these ladies and all those who face this kind of situation. I don’t think it is about who is most ‘special’

    • It’s a very sad situation for Tara and Adele but it is also very true and relevant that so many other people are suffering, struggling and in a worse situation.

      • Just because I’m not terminal doesn’t mean I’m not struggling? There is 100% more people struggling but it wasn’t my decision it was my wife’s to make a go fund me. No one is asking you to donate nor is anyone forcing you to read. Were not begging were simply asking if anyone can donate then we are more than grateful. If you have nothing nice to input then please just keep your opinions to yourself!

    • By speaking out and be “loud” and not “silent”, not only will I maybe recieve the right support in the sense of someone pointing me in the direction of benefit help, which I’m very much entitled to considering I work 50+ hours a week in a full time job but I’ll also raise awareness for young woman and old ladies to check their boobs. Just because I’m not terminal and I’m only stage 1 doesn’t make me any different to anyone suffering with a disease I’d never wish on my worst enemy. Please think before you post as fortunately for me your comment doesn’t bother me but there is people out there that aren’t as strong. Have a lovely day and I hope you find the strength to one day be a kind person.

      • I am so sorry you are going through this, Tara, and that you are subjected to such mean-minded mean-spiritness from some people. It is is to be hoped those same people never find themselves on the business end of a cancer diagnosis. I have been there and, thankfully, come out the other end. However, it was not easy and it affects people in a multitude of different ways, physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially . . . Your strength, evident from your messages, will be a big help as you face into the future and you are right, it is important to raise awareness. I wish you all the best for the future. Don’t waste time and precious energy on haters.

  6. What makes Tara ‘so special’ is that we now know about her situation. Yeah, there are so many more – could be any one of us next. And there SHOULD and COULD be the means to help each other out through our taxes but that is not the society we live in.
    I’ll be contributing. Tara and Adele, it’s brave of you to reach out like this and I hope you get enough funds to keep things ticking over nicely without any extra cause for worry.

    • Thank you so much for your kind message. Unfortunately some people aren’t lucky to be well off to have time off and sadly I’m one of them people! I work 50+ hours a week and now have to drop right down but that’s life sadly. I’ve just been dealt the crap card for health! But it is what it is! Thank you so much for your contribution! I hope so too, the government is shocking to people that are hard working and are I’ll beyond their will.

  7. “If you have nothing nice to input then please just keep your opinions to yourself!”

    Wow. Toys. Pram.

    It’s an open forum and my post is merely suggesting that other people around the UK are struggling just the same, and with more advanced disease than you.

    You may not like to hear this but pandering is not my strong point.

    I would also go one step further and suggest the site operator reign down negative personal plight storylines; they are simply not a good read.

    Good day.

    • No I’m not throwing my toys out my pram at all. Just because someone has less advanced cancer than someone else doesn’t mean people shouldn’t share their story. The newspaper reached out to my partner, we didn’t go to them so when stupid negative comments come through it really doesn’t help an already stressful situation. I don’t want pandering from anyone, especially a random individual off the internet that reads one newspaper article and feel th need to comment on people they dont know. I really hope and pray you or anyone you know never has this or any other nasty disease no matter what stage.

      On that note, this discussion doesn’t need to be carried on. Have a lovely afternoon and take care.

    • What a heartless troll you are. Don’t read the ‘negative personal plight stories’ then so you can keep your nasty comments to yourself.

  8. Hi
    I have terminal brain cancer grade 4. I’m 46.
    My whole life was turned around in 2020, I had to stop work. I had to start claiming benefits, yes it’s very hard and frustrating and no where near enough to live on. I have to live at home with my Mum as my Wife works such long hours. We can’t claim carers allowance or help with rent so I know how hard it is.
    I had alot of support from McMillan with work and benefits also my oncologist nurse.
    Good luck, keep positive

    • Hinatalie, I’m so sorry to hear this and my thoughts and prays go out to you and your family! I’m currently waiting to start the benefit process. As long as there is enough to pay my rent everything else can wait! I’m grateful I’m at the stage I’m at but others can’t be as lucky! I just hope my story raises enough awareness for individuals to check themselves.
      Good luck with everything too and stay strong!

  9. No-one knows there future regarding your health .I woke up on the 6 th march this year didn’t feel right because I’d had a heart attack. This has changed my whole life .So no one should be judged because they are ill .No sain person wakes up and says I wish I was ill.Good luck to you

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