Campaign to save young celebrity with brain tumor

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By Creative Media News

In May 2022, Faye Fantarrow signed with Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart’s record label, the beginning of what she believed would be a successful music career. A few months later, she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that cannot be treated in the United Kingdom.

Faye Fantarrow believed she had foreseen the impending event when she began to feel fatigued and the sensation in her left side began to fade. She feared that at age 20, leukemia she had escaped twice as a kid had returned for the third time.

She says “Just” leukemia, knowing that illness is never “just.” However, having thought it twice before, she knew what to anticipate. Or believed she did.

She states that blood tests came back normal. No leukemia. Doctors were unable to diagnose her until she underwent scans and subsequently a biopsy, which revealed she had an aggressive glioma brain tumor, considered to be an extremely unusual outcome of radiotherapy she had received as a youngster.

This occurred in August. Since then, Faye from Sunderland has undergone more radiotherapy to reduce the size of multiple tumors. However, there is no remedy in the United Kingdom.

Campaign to save young celebrity with brain tumor
Campaign to save young celebrity with brain tumor

She was made aware of a lifeline – a trial at the City of Hope hospital in the city of Duarte in Los Angeles County, California; a complex treatment, costing a total of £450,000. She was a rising singer and musician who was discovered on social media and subsequently signed by Eurythmics star Dave Stewart earlier in 2022.

Now, her friends, family, and other musicians are doing everything possible to raise the necessary funds. Since a fundraising page was established three and a half weeks ago, donations had reached a little over £121,000. A tremendous amount, yet there is still work to be done.

“We cannot allow Faye’s life to end here,” states Abigail, Faye’s sister, on the fundraising website. “On the darkest night, she is the brightest star you could ever discover; she is strong, independent, and talented… Please provide… Please assist Faye in her fight.”

Faye adds, “It’s intimidating, but the security blanket I have around me because of the individuals who are putting money in and not giving up on me makes it seem less intimidating.”

The battle to raise funds for treatment in California has begun.

Surviving leukemia

Faye was only eight years old when she was initially diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of blood cancer. She underwent two and a half years of chemotherapy that resulted in the loss of her hair and mobility, but as a youngster, she claims that a lack of sufficient awareness shielded her from the situation, making her illness more difficult for her family in certain aspects.

And bizarrely, her sickness changed her life for the better; she picked an acoustic guitar after receiving a Brave Heart award for youngsters battling illness or adversity, opening the path for her career as a singer-songwriter.

When she was 13 years old, leukemia returned, and this time she had to undergo a bone marrow transplant. It was a lengthy, arduous process, but she once again prevailed.

Then Mr. Dave Stewart made contact…

Faye began playing the guitar seriously at age 15, and the next year she began writing her tunes. And in 2021, she was awarded the Alan Hull Prize for songwriting, which is presented yearly in the North East in honor of the founder of Lindisfarne.

Faye’s life was no longer dominated by cancer, and her singing career was flourishing. “Then Mr. Dave Stewart contacted me,” she says.

After initially following the singer on Instagram, Stewart contacted her and began coaching her, at first remotely producing her demos and eventually inviting her to record with him in London. The group then traveled to the Bahamas to record an EP.

“Everything was going so beautifully… until I decided to ruin everything,” Faye joked about the tumor. She feels this is the most difficult aspect of being diagnosed now. “I am more conscious of it now, and it has affected my career as well. I don’t want this to jeopardize my career and everything I’ve worked so hard to accomplish.”

She is already a national treasure.

Stewart, also from Sunderland, echoed Faye’s tale and referred to her as “an incredible young artist.” His Eurythmics bandmate Annie Lennox has also contributed £10,000 to the cause.

Stewart told that Faye is a fantastic young artist, a singer-songwriter in a league of her own. “Writers as exceptional as Faye are rare, and I knew the moment I heard her voice that she was extraordinary.

“This summer, we spent an incredible amount of time together producing her new EP, only to receive this tragic news a few weeks later.

I cannot explain enough how much I believe in Faye and her talents as a singer and performer, but it’s her insightful views of the world around her that make me believe she deserves to be heard for a very, very long time.

“At only 20 years old, she is already a national treasure in my eyes, and I hope she will become one in yours as well.”

“I am optimistic about the future”

As a result of her tumors, Faye now experiences seizures. She says she has good days and terrible days. She says she feels “euphoric” thinking about performing again following treatment in California; she is not concerned with if she will perform again, but when.

According to Cancer Research UK, the treatment she requires is CAR T-cell therapy, which is a sort of immunotherapy that is “difficult and specialized.” T cells are a classification of white blood cells.

“In this procedure, specialist harvests and modifies your T cells in a tiny way. After a few weeks, you receive a blood transfusion with these cells. The T-cells then recognize and assault the cancer cells, according to the organization’s website.

It is a potential therapy option for some children with leukemia and some people with lymphoma. As part of a clinical trial, it could be administered to people with various forms of cancer.

Faye states that the NHS has been “wonderful” thus far, but she must now travel to the United States.

“I am eternally thankful if anyone can offer whatever they can,” she says. “I am conscious of the current situation; thus, even if it’s only sharing the tale and discussing it, I will do so. I am fortunate to have this opportunity and to have the support of others, allowing me to look forward to the future. Even if it’s simply talking about it, I cannot adequately express my thanks.”

However, Faye’s mother puts it simply. “The sum of £450,000 appeared daunting. But then I thought, if we can reach 450 thousand people and every one of them donates one pound, then we can accomplish it. And that is all we require. If someone is willing to donate a pound, we can do it.”

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