Divorce can be a messy affair, and dealing with an ex's new significant other can be even worse – but after she was given a terminal cancer diagnosis earlier this year, a mother of two has been given a second chance thanks to a financial windfall from her ex-husband's new wife.
41-year-old Nicola "Niki" Hitchen was first admitted to the hospital with severe abdominal pain back in March. While doctors initially said that she had pelvic abscess and sepsis, they later found a tumor in her cervix.
Because physicians said that they could not treat the cancer until her infection cleared up, the tumor jumped from stage 2 cancer to stage 4 in just seven weeks, and doctors said that it was too late to start treatment.
Hitchen, however, refused to give up. In July, the mom from Chester, England began treatment at the Chemothermia center in Istanbul, Turkey – and the therapy was shockingly successful. The tumor in Hitchen's cervix has all but disappeared, and the tumors throughout the rest of her body have also shrunk considerably.
But the 41-year-old started running out of money – the innovative treatments cost her family almost $100,000 (£80,000) and she still requires maintenance trips to the center, each of which comes with a hefty $13,000 (£10,000) price tag.
Hitchen mentioned her dire financial straits to her ex-husband's new wife Clare, who was not about to let Hitchen suffer alone.
"Niki recently told me that they have big 'decisions' to make as the money is running out and she may not be able to continue with her life saving treatment," says Clare.
"I feel this is not an option. The boys need their Mum and she deserves the chance to watch them grow into men and have their own families."
Clare, who is now the stepmom to Hitchen's 14 and 12-year-old sons, started a JustGiving campaign to raise funds for her husband's previous wife.
The page has already raised $38,000 (£29,000) for Hitchen's treatments.
"To all those who have donated anonymously or not, small amounts, large amounts, every penny is truly appreciated," says Clare on the crowdfunding page. "The fact that you have come here to support Niki is fantastic and she is completely overwhelmed by the love and support coming through from friends and complete strangers."
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