The British and Spanish communities of Malaga province are uniting to help 33-year-old Soraya Pérez Bradley in her fight against Leukemia, by organising a series of fundraising events to help towards urgent medical treatment.
The first event took place in Benajarafe last Sunday, which Antonio Moreno Ferrer, Mayor of Vélez-Málaga and Councillor María José Roberto attended. Soraya's mum, Katrina Bradley, told SUR in English that the town halls of Malaga and Vélez-Málaga have "given the Save Soraya campaign their full support."
More events are planned in February, with a benefit concert and dinner taking place tonight at Plaza Beach restaurant in Calahonda, where 15 euros of the 35 euro ticket price will be donated to the fund. On Sunday, 3 February a charity paella will be cooked on Plaza de la Mezquita in Benálmadena, which is where the family lived before moving to Benajarafe.
A concert featuring a wide range of local musicians is being held in Arroyo de la Miel on Saturday, 9 February and Katrina says that there are plans for more events in the pipeline. "There is so much going on I can't keep up with all of it," she admits, adding that her focus at the moment is on finding treatment, in or outside Europe, for her daughter. "I am on the phone to hospitals in the USA in the middle of the night trying to find treatments," she explains.
Soraya was diagnosed with the disease in July 2017, while she was working in Edinburgh, in her mum's native Scotland. Doctors there found that it had spread to 98 per cent of her body and Soraya returned to Malaga immediately to start receiving treatment at the Carlos Haya hospital.
The family was told that the strain of Leukemia that Soraya had was more common among children and that it has a "Poor prognosis" in adults, Katrina explains. Soraya went on to receive aggressive chemotherapy which her mum says she "didn't respond well to." Despite this, Soraya did seem to be making progress and was well on the road to recovery, after a bone marrow transplant from her older sister in December 2017, who was a perfect match.
However, almost a year later, in November 2018, doctors found an unrelated, but malignant ovarian tumour, which resulted in Soraya having her ovaries, appendix and lymph nodes removed and then the family received the worst news during a routine check up on Boxing Day 2018, a year on from the bone marrow transplant; the leukemia had returned.
Soraya was still too weak from the operation to remove the ovarian tumour to receive more chemotherapy, and both the doctors and Katrina agreed that the treatment wouldn't work. Soraya is now at home and taking steroids and anti viral medication, with the hope that the correct treatment will be found and that she will be well enough to receive it.
CART - T Cell trials or treatment, says Katrina, is a possibility, but she goes on to say that it is currently only available in the USA and in many places is still being trialled. If treatment can't be found, the family says the money raised will be donated to local charities including CUDECA. For further information about Soraya and the charity events visit: Facebook: Save Soraya, or Go Fund Me #SaveSoraya.