Campaign to help Derry woman diagnosed with rare cancer

A Derry woman diagnosed with a rare cancer, needs to raise £50,000 for major surgery in her home State of Texas.

Friday, 10th May 2019, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 10th May 2019, 3:00 pm
Sabrina and Robert.

Sabrina Kennedy, from Ardmore, was diagnosed earlier this year with a Spindle Cell Sarcoma with Myxoid Features, affecting the connective and soft tissue in her right upper back and under her right trunk.

According to the American Cancer Society, it only affects less than one per cent of all new cases of cancer.

The 42-years-old has already fought breast cancer twice, in 2013 and again in 2017.

Sabrina, who moved to Texas 18 years ago with her husband, Robert Hai, has already undergone two cycles of the strongest chemotherapy available in a bid to fight the new cancer but, unfortunately, the tumour has increased in size. The next step is radiotherapy, which will, hopefully, shrink the tumour in preparation for major invasive reconstructive surgery.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Robert, who met the former administrative assistant in 1999, when he was a physiotherapy student on placement at Altnagelvin Hospital, told how medical expenses of $50,000 were not covered by their health insurance.

He described his wife as ‘kind, giving and very loving.’ “As her loving husband, I admire her beauty, strength, courage and she has a great sense of humour. The main reason we have started the campaign is because ‘it’s a race against time.’ The tumour has already invaded the pleural cavity (fluid membrane that protects the lungs).”

Sabrina’s surgery will require four specialist oncology surgeons.

Robert explained: “First, the oncologist surgeon will remove the large mass. The cardio-thoracic oncology surgeon will make seven titanium ribs that needs to be replaced. Next, the orthopedic oncology surgeon will prepare the spine to take the ribs. Finally, the plastic reconstructive surgeon will reconstructive muscles, tissues and make available skin. The major operation will take over 15 hours. Then, after care and recovery is uncertain.”

Robert said he and Sabrina are living “day by day” but have been bolstered by the support of their family and friends, both in America and Northern Ireland.

“We are literally living day-by-day, because of the stress of medical uncertainty, financial burdens are quickly mounting, mental and emotional strain of making life changing decisions.

“Family and friends across the US and Northern Ireland have been amazing in their prayers, well wishes; as well as donating their time and resources, along with sharing our campaign.

“It gives Sabrina hope and strength to know that she’s not alone in this fight and that there are people fighting with her against this rare cancer.”

Sabrina was planning to go back to school to pursue her dream of getting a social work degree and eventually become a practicing counsellor to help those with cancer.

Robert said that while Sabrina’s diagnosis was “very difficult, especially for her,” they have been “overwhelmed by the love, generosity, and compassion.

“Everyone’s thoughts and prayers continues to lift her spirits and gives her the energy to fight.”

He added how they would love it if people in Derry and Donegal could share Sabrina’s fight against this rare cancer and ‘if they could donate any amount, it would greatly help our situation-medical and financial.’

They would also be grateful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Sabrina’s Go Fund Me page can be accessed at