A fundraising campaign set up for a young jockey with a rare cancer has reached more than £24,000 in one day.
Laura Barry started suffering from pain in her left leg last year and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the spine and nervous system.
It was treated, but a second tumor was found in November 2016. The condition has left Laura with paralysis in her left leg from the hip down.
The 24-year-old’s best friend, fellow jockey Gemma Tutty, set up the GoFundMe appeal to raise money for treatment and specialist rehabilitation for Laura.
“I am delighted by the generosity of the racing community thus far, but not necessarily surprised, as they are renown for pulling together in times of need,” Gemma told H&H.
She added the amount raised so far is “fantastic” and hopes the wider equestrian community will also be willing to support Laura.
A former apprentice to trainer Richard Fahey, Laura moved from Limerick to North Yorkshire to pursue a career in racing.
She won the Prolinx Ladies’ Silver Championship in 2012 for the highest strike rate in a season and represented Ireland in the world apprentice series in San Francisco in 2014.
“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,” said Gemma.
“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.
“The Injured Jockeys Fund have been brilliant and paid for all her medical fees, but there’s only so much they can do.”
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There is no specific chemotherapy available for her cancer and her family is looking into possible treatment trials abroad, including proton beam therapy.
“We are heartened that so many people are lending their support to Laura’s appeal during this tremendously difficult time,” said Kelsea Little, of GoFundMe.com.
“We hope people continue to support the campaign and send Laura our very best wishes.”