Helen Fitzsimmons fed her cancer stricken father with her breast milk after conducting research and discovering it could help.
She believes it gave him an extra year as his cancer cells reduced when he began taking her milk; although doctors believe otherwise.
The mother of two was so desperate to help she pumped her one-year-old son’s milk and gave it to her father, Arthur, to drink after he was diagnosed with myeloma cancer.
Arthur had been diagnosed with the bone marrow affecting cancer in 2009 at age 69 and received a prognosis of prostate cancer in October 2013.
Myeloma cancer is a slow-moving but terminal cancer which raises protein levels, in turn lowering the immune system and weakening the bones.
Helen’s research led her to ‘medical evidence which showed breast milk can boost the immune system’.
She disclosed her findings with her mother Jean, and they both talked about the alternative treatment with Arthur who said: ‘Anything is worth a go”.
In 20143, her father began the alternative treatment, drinking her milk regularly.
Helen who is from Cheltenham, said: “The first time dad tasted my milk from a glass he drank it down in one go. He looked at me and smiled, then said ‘this tastes fine’.
I know there are some people who may find this all a little strange but when someone you love is suffering you would do anything to help them.
I’d found a way to help my dad and I took it. It gave him hope and he lived 16 months after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
That was a year longer than we expected after that and I’m sure it was my breast milk that helped”.
While receiving chemotherapy drugs for the bone marrow cancer for four years, Helen only began giving him alternative – breast milk – treatment after his diagnosis with prostate cancer.
Helen said: “It was absolutely crushing for us because dad was now dealing with two cancers. As a family we tried to stay clam but we were so worried”.
Helen who was breastfeeding her one year-old son, Cassius, then began reading/researching methods and scientific techniques that could help her father when she found ‘ground-breaking research into the power of breast milk’.
Research has shown that breast milk boosts the immune systems and babies that are breast-fed have lower blood pressure and are less likely to be obese in later life.
Swedish scientists discovered in 1995 that a protein in the milk appeared to destroy cancer cells in the laboratory.
Another study found a different compound also destroyed skin warts triggered by the human papiloma virus and suggested it could have implications for treating cervical cancer.
Helen said: “It wasn’t something I decided on a whim. There was clear medical evidence that giving dad my breast milk may help him”.
Cassius was only a year old and I was still feeding him so what harm could it do? I started expressing and freezing, then taking monthly supplies down to my dad in Devon”.
When Arthur began receiving the breast milk treatment doctors told them his protein levels – which kept rising due to his myeloma – had stopped increasing; though his prostate cancer was proving tough. Yet, the family were left amazed at the new information.
Helen said: “In January 2014 dad started drinking 2fl. oz of breast milk a day and his protein levels stopped increasing almost straight away.
I wanted him to drink more so asked a friend to start donating her milk too and he was soon taking 3fl oz. Incredibly, his protein levels then actually started falling. He even joked mine was sweeter after tasting both”.
The mother-of-two added: “He told me he was grateful and hoped that others would benefit from our story. That’s why I’ve decided to tell people about our experience”.
Sadly, Arthur died in Easter last year – 16 months after first drinking her milk.
She said: “My only regret is that I didn’t realize the benefits of breast milk earlier.
“My hope now is that one day doctors embrace alternative therapies and treat them with the legitimacy they deserve.
“We are only starting to understand cancer and what may help fight it and I hope what happened to our family gives someone else hope.
“It was a privilege to be able to offer Dad some hope”.
A poll was taken and over ninety people admitted they’ll give their terminally ill loved one breast milk if it could save their life. What say you?