In her 30s, with two young sons… and just six months to live

Still aged just 39, and with two young sons aged four and six, Joanna Anesti works at Maxus in Dublin, a leading media agency.

Last August, the otherwise healthy young woman began to experience seizures – which became more frequent as the weeks went by.

Concerned, she sought treatment, and shortly before Christmas, doctors made their diagnosis: advanced Glioblastoma multiforme. In short, they had discovered not one but two tumours on her brain.

And while she has since endured five months of gruelling treatment, the tumours have only expanded. More worryingly, a third growth has recently been identified. 

Understandably, Joanna’s outlook does not look overly positive. Indeed, doctors have now told her that she has just six months to live.

However, she and her family believe there is still a glimmer of hope: namely an innovative surgical trial in Belgium. Desperately short on time, the DCU-graduate hopes to travel there next month – if she can raise the eye-watering six-figure sum needed to cover her medical bills.

The initial surgery to remove the tumours will run to €50,000 alone, while other associated costs will stretch to further €150,000.

And although there is currently no cure for Joanna’s condition, the influential US health watchdog, the FDA, has approved the Belgium trail.

She has so far raised €20,000 – with one anonymous donor contributing a generous €5,000 lump sum.

Joanna herself remains remarkably upbeat too. "I believe that death is not the biggest loss in life," she writes on her blog, "The biggest loss is the energy that dies within us every day while we are still alive.

"I’ll keep fighting and hoping no matter what the doctors tell me. Just because I am a natural born fighter and positive believer!"

You can find out more about her cause and donate here.