As Georgia Browne breastfeeds her baby son Monty, nothing could seem more normal or natural. At eight months old, Monty thrives on his mother’s milk, but someone else is also thriving on Georgia’s milk – her father Tim!
That’s because Tim’s battling cancer. He drinks his daughter’s breastmilk every day to boost his immune system and give him the strength to fight the disease.
After researching the idea on the internet, Georgia, 27, expresses her breastmilk as often as she can for her father to drink. He has the milk on his bowl of cornflakes every morning. It’s been his daily routine for the past six months and Tim believes the milk has given him a boost.
A shock diagnosis
Georgia’s world was turned upside-down when her beloved dad was diagnosed with cancer in July 2007, just a week before she was due to get married.
Tim, 67, was admitted to hospital with stomach pains and within hours doctors discovered he had colon cancer. He was rushed into surgery where they operated to remove a tumour. But despite the major surgery, a tearful Tim was released in time to walk Georgia down the aisle.
‘It felt amazing having him at the wedding – it made it more emotional for everyone,’ she says. After the wedding, Georgia’s family rallied to support Tim as he went for further tests and treatment. But within weeks, he was told the cancer had spread. And soon after the family received even more devastating news – the cancer was terminal.
‘It was a terrible shock. He’d never been ill before,’ Georgia says. ‘He still is really fit. He goes to the gym three times a week.’ Tim endured gruelling chemotherapy and after a year went into remission. But the cancer returned when Georgia was pregnant with her first child.
Georgia gave birth to Monty last July and began breastfeeding. A month later, she watched a TV documentary in which an American man believed his prostate cancer had been helped because he drank breastmilk.
‘The man went to a milk bank for his supply of breastmilk and drank it in a milkshake,’ Georgia recalls. ‘I started researching on the internet immediately and found separate studies in America and Scandinavia both supporting the health benefits of breastmilk to cancer sufferers.
‘I watched the documentary and thought it was a really mad idea, if it was true,’ she says. 'I started looking on the net and found research suggesting breastmilk helps kill cancer cells.
‘Finding out I could help was amazing. I could play my small part in helping my dad do something positive for his illness. 'When I talked to him about it, he thought it was a great idea. He thought: “Why not?”’