A Chester mum battling stage four cancer has had a second chance at life after a fundraising campaign set up by her ex-husband's new spouse raised more than £30,000.
Nicola Hitchen from Vicars Cross was devastated when doctors told her just four months ago that there was nothing they could do to treat her cervical cancer.
Desperate, the 41-year-old mum to Joe, 14, and Jake, 12, began searching for treatment options and discovered a pioneering chemotherapy centre in Turkey could be her only hope.
Her mum Helena and stepfather Bruce helped her fund the £80,000 treatment, and remarkably after five 10-day sessions at the ground-breaking centre in Istanbul, Nicola's aggressive tumour had virtually disappeared with secondary tumours also diminishing.
But with money running out, and still several more treatment sessions to complete, a campaign has been set up to raise the remaining £50,000 – and it's being led by Nicola's former husband Andy's new wife Clare.
Clare, who is mum to Lewis and Abbey from her previous relationship and three-year-old Olivia who she shares with Andy, set up the Crowdfunding page.
In just a short space of time, they have received some incredible donations.
She told The Chronicle: "When I first suggested Crowdfunding to Niki she was a bit uncertain at first but it's been absolutely amazing. We have now raised just over £40,000 and have had messages and donations from all over the world.
"Niki and I weren't always close – we had a normal ex wife/current wife relationship where we mainly talked about the children and I never really saw Nicola much as it would be Andy picking up the boys.
"But when I heard she had cancer it was heartbreaking and I couldn't imagine how I would feel if I were in her position. As a mother I'd worry so much about my children and what it would be like for them growing up without me so this really touched me and I really wanted to help.
"I could do nothing, or I could do something. And this has brought us closer – we now text reguarly. I keep thinking of things I can do to help, and how I can raise more money.
As well as the crowdfunding and Facebook pages, Clare has made it her mission to arrange fundraising events, including one which she has organised with friend Elaine Bailey at Boughton Hall Cricket Club on December 1.
Local businesses and kind hearted donors have clubbed together to donate some fabulous prizes which can be won in a raffle, and there will be a disco, live music and entertainment by a cross-dressing act. Tickets are limited but to find out more, visit @nikistreatmentfund on Facebook or email Clare at email@example.com.
You can donate to the campaign here .
Clare, from Warrington, added: "Niki's boys need their mum and she deserves the chance to watch them grow into men and have their own families. It warms my heart that we have all united in this and all the support has given Niki positivity and hope which is healing to the mind."