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Blackburn MP backs eye cancer fundraising campaign
Updated 9:18am Thursday 9th January 2014 in News
BLACKBURN MP Jack Straw has taken up the case of a grandmother who began fundraising to pay for eye cancer treatment which can’t be funded by the NHS.
Patricia Morris, who works as a teaching assistant at St James’ Primary School in Lower Darwen, was diagnosed with an ocular melanoma in 2010, which then spread to her liver.
It meant, without treatment, she would have left her with only two years to live.
Chemotherapy was Patricia’s only option available on the NHS, despite the procedure being widely reported to have only a very limited effect on melanoma.
Mother-of-three Patricia said: “I wrote to Jack Straw just to say that I was disappointed and felt like I wasn’t provided for.
“I have worked since I left school and have paid my national insurance and it is awful to be forgotten as soon as you actually need something.”
Damian Talbot, Mr Straw's constituency secretary said: “Jack has taken a close and personal involvement in Mrs Morris’ case and is awaiting a response from the Secretary of State for Health.”
Patricia made the brave decision to undergo a clinical trial for a treatment called Delcath at Southampton University.
The 10-session trial came to an end in October and Patricia’s daughter, Kate Hargreaves, began campaigning to raise £56,000 for a revolutionary treatment called Adoptive Lymphocyte Transfer, performed at The Christie in Manchester.
Although still in its infancy, reports have shown that the transfer has made tumours disappear completely in some patients.
Kate, 32, who set up a Facebook page called Patricia’s Rare Eye Cancer Appeal to raise awareness of her fundraising, said: “The response has been amazing.
“We have been through so much trauma in the past few years and it has really restored our faith in human kind and shown us the meaning of selflessness and generosity.”
And there is good news for Patricia’s health that the Southampton treatment has been a success.
She said: “The professor looked at my scans and said that the Delcath treatment had worked so well that the tumours were too small for him to begin the ALT procedure.
“Southampton University was told how well the Delcath had worked and offered me another session.
“It gives me much more time to fundraise and I know the road ahead is rocky but I'm ready for whatever 2014 throws at me.
“Giving up is not on my agenda.”
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