The husband of a young mother who was given months to live after doctors found 30 tumors in her bones has sold almost everything they own to keep her alive.
David Gorrick works up to 60 hours a week managing a construction site and prepares to sell his car to pay for natural therapies that could extend the life of his beloved wife Emma, 35, who has been told that her cancer is resistant to chemotherapy.
The mother of two, from Cromer on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, beat breast cancer for the first time after being diagnosed in 2011 at the age of 25.
But a double mastectomy and two children later, she is fighting for her life again after metastatic breast cancer formed in her liver and bones.
David, 39, appeals to the community for help after the family spent $100,000 building a home treatment center in their garage to give Emma a chance to watch their beloved children Mya, five, and Ryan, three, grow up.
Emma Gorrick, 35, with husband Dave, 39, and children Mya, five, and Ryan, three
Mrs Gorrick (pictured with her husband) first beat breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2011 at the age of 25
“It was difficult, very difficult,” David told the Daily Mail Australia.
The cost of Emma’s alternative treatment not covered by Medicare is over $1,500 per week.
Her intensive regimen includes colonics, IV vitamin infusions, ice baths, saunas, mental health, and a frequency therapy that costs $400 per hour.
“A lot of people consider this kind of thing to be very left-wing. We’re not against medication, but this is the only thing that works for us,” said David.
“She’s very up and down. Her only wish is to be healthy.’
A double mastectomy and two children later, Emma (pictured with son Ryan) is fighting for her life again after metastatic breast cancer formed in her liver and bones
David, 39, appeals to the community for help to give Emma a chance to watch their beloved children Mya, five, and Ryan, three, (pictured) grow up
The former hair salon owner was told her cancer was incurable in January 2020, 10 years after beating the disease through grueling chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to remove both breasts.
This time, radiation has helped shrink the tennis ball-sized tumor in her liver, but the tumors in her bones remain.
After a course of oral chemotherapy, when the new cancer was found to be resistant to the drug and more tumors were growing in her bones, doctors gave her the devastating news that she had only months to live.
Their only suggestion was palliative care, but the alternative route Emma took, along with a strict vegan diet that required her to cut out sugar, has seen the tumors in her bones disappear within eight months.
Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer
– Constant back, bone or joint pain
– Difficulty urinating (either incontinence or inability to go); this could be a sign that nerves in your back are being pinched by a tumor
– Numbness or weakness all over your body
– A constant dry cough
– Difficulty breathing
– Shortness of breath
– Loss of appetite or weight loss
– Bloating, pain or tenderness in the abdomen
– Constant nausea or vomiting
– Jaundice (a yellow tinge to the skin and whites of your eyes)
– Severe headache
– Vision problems (blurred vision, double vision, loss of vision)
– Loss of balance
Although she still has five tumors in her liver and has “good and bad days,” David is generally feeling well.
“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and she’s very up and down, but she’s trying to keep a positive attitude,” he added.
“Otherwise it’s overwhelming.”
The couple say they would like to see more natural therapies considered for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), but in the meantime their only option is to campaign for donations through GoFundMe.
A fundraiser launched on November 9 had raised $49,398 at the time of writing.
The alternative route Emma (right) took, along with a strict vegan diet that required her to cut out sugar, has seen the tumors in her bones disappear in the span of eight months
It has been a rough road for the family, which was devastated last year when Australia’s international border closure prevented them from traveling abroad for experimental treatment.
While the four-year survival rate for Emma’s breast cancer is only 22 percent worldwide, advanced treatments are available in Japan, Germany and Mexico.
But due to pandemic border closures, she was cut off from potentially life-saving remedies only offered abroad.
David said that had the border closures not been in place, the family ‘certainly’ would have traveled for medical care.
The family spent $100,000 on machines to treat Emma in their garage at home
Emma (pictured) has an intensive treatment regimen with infrared saunas, IV vitamin infusions and colonic irrigation
“The treatments available abroad are more advanced than we are, but because of the pandemic we haven’t had access to them,” he said.
“If it hadn’t been for that, Em would definitely have gotten on a plane. There’s a lot of research that suggests the treatments would work.”
Determined to do everything in their power to extend her life, the couple saw no option but to recreate the center in their home when the flights were grounded.
“We spent about $100,000 on equipment used at a cancer center in Mexico and set it up in our garage as a treatment center,” he said.
“We have two infrared saunas, a hyperbaric chamber and a hypothermia chamber, and Em gets two vitamin C infusions a week that cost about $370 each.”
Emma is pictured in 2011, battling breast cancer for the first time, at age 25
The family has since been forced to sell one of the saunas to pay for the additional cost of Emma’s treatment.
The brave mom documents her grueling experience on an Instagram page called The Journey of Healing Em.
In an August 2020 post, she wrote about an evening when she was in so much pain after a medical procedure that her then four-year-old daughter gave up.
“Mya came home from nice, saw me how I couldn’t move and she was crying all night and asking to take care of mom,” she wrote.
Despite the pain, Emma has remained positive and says she’s ‘grateful for everything I’m learning along the way – there’s a silver lining to everything’.