AN IRISH jockey in Britain is fighting to live an independent life again after being left paralysed by a rare cancer.
A heart-felt GoFundMe campaign has been set up for Laura Barry, former apprentice to racehorse trainer Richard Fahey, who is seriously ill in Wellington Hospital in London after being diagnosed with a rare form of nerve cancer for the second time.
Laura, 24, started suffering from pain in her left leg last year, and was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer that attacks the nerve ducts of the spine and nervous system.
Although the tumour was treated, sadly a second tumour was discovered in November.
Laura moved from Limerick in Ireland to North Yorkshire England in 2010 to pursue a career in the saddle.
Her riding career highlights include representing Ireland in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak World Apprentice Series in San Francisco, and winning the Prolinx Ladies Silver Championship for the highest strike rate in a season.
Her best friend Gemma Tutty who set up the GoFundMe appeal said: “The nerve pain in Laura's leg and foot was increasing daily and the cause heartbreakingly, was another tumour on the L5 nerve duct.
“Not many of us imagine a pain in our leg at 23 years old could possibly lead to a cancer diagnosis, and a gruelling rollercoaster year, with multiple treatments, complications and operations.
“This time it was extremely difficult to remove and treat and she has been left paralysed from the hip down in her left leg from her latest surgery, and still needs treatment later this month to try and prevent the cancer from returning.
“She still has a long way to go, your support during this extremely tough time is appreciated so much. Any donations will be used in the hope of giving her the best possible future, and the greatest chance of recovery.”
Laura has been left with paralysis in her left leg from the hip downwards and with no chemotherapy specific to her cancer available, the family are currently looking at possible trials treatment options abroad including proton beam therapy.
Laura and Gemma became best friends when riding round the world together for the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak World Apprentice Series.
"The Injured Jockeys Fund have been brilliant and paid for all her medical fees but there's only so much they can do,” Gemma added.
“This is why we need to raise funds. Because of the severity of Laura’s condition, we are having to look at funding treatment abroad and paying for continued specialist rehab to help her to learn to lead an independent life again.
“Laura will also need things like an adaptive car, a chair lift and wet room when she is back at home again. Amazingly despite all of this you never hear her moaning about it, she's always cracking jokes and having a laugh. It's never depressing to go see her, always a pleasure."