Solo mother in race against time to get vital new treatment to help battle breast cancer

A solo mother is in a race against time to get her hands on a new treatment after being told she has just months to live. 

Amy Carr, 47, has metastatic breast cancer that's spread to her liver and bones and has just been told she has less than three months to live.

Carr, a solo mother of two, is going through the unthinkable. Just a few days ago, she was told the tumour in her liver had grown and she likely only has three months left in life with her two young boys.

"It's the darkest night of my soul," Carr told Newshub. "I just have to fight through those thoughts… and dig deep to find the strength to get through." 

Her sons, 11-year-old Nico and 7-year-old River, are her world. 

"I'm here for them and just to give them more time with me - I'll do anything that I can for that," Carr said.  

Amy Carr with her two kids.
Amy Carr with her two kids. Photo credit: Supplied

She wants to make sure every moment left with them is one to remember - which is why she has made the tough call not to continue chemotherapy. 

"I've talked it through with my little boys and they don't want to see me go through this. They don't want to see their mum with no hair again, to be bedridden, burnt, blistering, vomiting," she said.

She was on less invasive, targeted treatments - but they are no longer working.

Carr said her final option is a new international drug called Trastuzumab Deruxtecan (T-DXd) which she's trying to raise money for.

"The treatment comes at a cost of $23,000 every 3 weeks - there are six to eight treatments and it will give me about 18 months of disease-free progression, which is amazing," Carr said. 

Fay Sowerby from the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition told Newshub out of the 10 new breast cancer treatments she has been closely monitoring overseas, the one Carr is after has the most promising results.

"It's a superb drug," Sowerby said. "We're seeing women with progression-free survival up to two years - which is not common for women who have had a series of treatments previously, particularly advanced cancer."

Pharmac is currently seeking clinical advice on it.

"Should we receive a positive funding recommendation from our clinical advisors, we would undertake an assessment of the medicine and rank it as an option for investment," Pharmac’s director of operations Lisa Williams said. 

Carr knows getting the treatment funded in time is a long shot - but says her boys keep her going.

"They always say to me every day - keep fighting mum, you're so strong."

As for her message to her children, she's told them to never give up.

"Just never give up. Never give up on your dreams and your goals. 

"Give as much to other people as you can… get out there and live your life through love and kindness."

You can donate here if you want to help Carr.