Student overcomes cancer ordeal through strangers’ generosity

Vanessa Pelz-Sharpe

Vanessa Pelz-Sharpe - Credit: Archant

A student diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of her Master’s, has overcome all the odds, in not only beating breast cancer but doing so while continuing with her degree for the last year and a half.

Vanessa Pelz-Sharpe

Vanessa Pelz-Sharpe - Credit: Archant

Vanessa Pelz-Sharpe, 31, who lives in Hoxton, is graduating from the University of London with a Masters in creative writing this month, despite undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a strenuous mastectomy operation throughout her studies.

To help pay for tuition and get her through the ordeal comfortably she raised funds using the platform GoFundMe twice.

Vanessa, who could be on a stabilising drug for up to 10 years, began her campaign last year with a target of £2,000 to pay tuition fees after her diagnosis, but managed to raise £4,000 in only a couple of days.

This year she received yet more overwhelming support to pay off her tuition fees – without which she would not have been able to graduate.

She said: “It’s genuinely been so heartening to have so many people help me through the worst time in my whole life.

“Sadly cancer is expensive and my savings are gone, my university had no funds left to help

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me pay my fees, and being unemployed means I don’t qualify for

a loan - I worked so hard to get here, through all my cancer treatment, that it would have been

so disappointing if I had to give up.

“Without GoFundMe I don’t know how I would have made it through the last two years - it’s meant I could buy new clothes after my mastectomy, as I couldn’t lift my arms up for months to put on a jumper and mastectomy bras are expensive.

“It paid for cabs to and from hospital appointments when I was too tired to get the Tube, and now it’s helped me graduate from my masters.

“So many people say that the Internet alienates people from each other but I’ve found it’s connected me to so many wonderful people and they’ve helped me realise a dream I’ve had for so long - getting my degree and writing a brilliant book.”

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