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Community backing Pounds for Porge campaign

A woman who raised tens of thousands of pounds for her late best friend now needs life-saving treatment herself after a bone marrow transplant failed to cure her leukaemia.

Georgia ‘Porge’ Bryant, from Chew Valley, raised £70,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust on behalf of best friend Abbie Dougherty when she was given just days to live after a battle with cervical cancer in June 2016.

Along with her close-knit group of friends, the ‘Chew Valley Family’, the 28-year-old raised money and hosted a fundraising event that Abbie even managed to attend before she passed away days later.

Porge’s sister Lottie, 31, said: “Once doctors said there was nothing they could do Porge asked Abbie what she would like to do with the time she had left.

“She said she wanted to raise money and Porge hosted an incredible fundraiser and raised £65,000 in that week. Abbie passed away a week later.”

In a cruel turn of events, just over a year after losing her best friend, Porge was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in September 2017.

Porge underwent three months of chemo and radiotherapy before having a vital bone marrow transplant in January this year.

Following the operation, Georgia spent a gruelling three weeks in isolation as part of her 100-day recovery period and was improving day by day.

She was in remission, but devastatingly on Tuesday, April 3, doctors told Porge her leukaemia was back and more aggressive than before.

Now the tight-knit Chew Valley community is rallying around the popular local hero in a bid to raise enough money to afford a three rounds of potentially life-saving treatment with their ‘Pounds for Porge’ campaign.

Each dosage of the drug inotuzumab ozogamicin costs a whopping £33,000 as it is not yet available on the NHS.

Incredibly, Georgia’s friends and family managed to raise £36,000 overnight and she underwent the first round of treatment on Thursday, April 12.

“We’re just so pleased and so grateful,” said Lottie. “We kind of expected a good response, but to raise £36,000 in one day is just outrageous.”

However, there is still a long way to go with the fundraising target set at £150,000 to cover the costs of three rounds of treatment and more.

Porge is hopeful of being included on a clinical trial in London once the rounds of treatment are complete. Although she fits the criteria of being a young adult, this will be dependent on space.

If there is no availability on the UK trial she may have to travel to the USA, however her leukaemia would have to be under control.

“We’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” Lottie added. “This is the only option left and it could cure her.

If you would like to contribute to the fundraiser, click here. Any money raised beyond that will go to charity.

The Chew Valley Family will be hosting a family fun day fundraising event for Porge on Saturday, May 5, at Chew Valley Rugby Club. There will be a strongman competition, games and music. £10 for adults, kids go free.