A CANCER patient who fought to secure a life-prolonging drug has thanked Barry’s community for its support after hearing she has been granted the treatment.
Mum-of-two Lesley Brown was informed on Friday (May 16), by a nurse, that her recently begun battle to secure Avastin had met with success and she would be able to begin the year-long drug treatment this May 29.
As first reported in the Barry & District News, 45-year-old Lesley needed to secure Avastin – a drug that can extend the lives of women with ovarian cancer – that is denied many patients in the UK in what is termed a postcode lottery.
But because she lives in Barry, health officials had told her she was not entitled to receive the treatment, costing £20,000 to £30,000 a year for each patient, on the NHS.
A patient in Swansea, however, and in other parts of the UK could be eligible.
The former Vale Council play ranger and Oak Field primary school learning support assistant and Cardiff airport security guard, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after attending hospital in February this year.
She had previously gone to hospital in November last year where her pain was thought to be a water infection.
In February, Lesley demanded an emergency appointment – after she was initially going to be treated for Diverticulitis – and blood tests and a CT scan revealed she had a tumour five to seven centimetres in size – Stage 3 ovarian cancer.
Lesley’s ovaries, womb, and omentum - known as the policeman of the abdomen for its role in fighting intra-abdominal infection – were removed during a six-hour operation at Llandough hospital on March 28.
The surgeon had to leave 15 percent of the tumour due to its closeness to the liver and Lesley, who is due to become a grandmother, will undergo six cycles of chemotherapy, over the course of 18 weeks, at Velindre – when taking Avastin will greatly improve the treatment’s outcome.
The 45-year-old, of The Rise, Barry, has so far raised more than £6000 for Velindre hospital – where she has just begun chemotherapy after having had surgery to remove 85 percent of a cancerous ovarian tumour – through her JustGiving site and a fundraising event at the Sea View Labour Club on May 9.
Lesley, of The Rise, Barry, said the nurse had rung her on Friday morning to break the good news.
Lesley said: “I just want to say thank you to the community for getting behind me.
“We have raised just over £6000. The Barry community is amazing and I want to thank everyone concerned - especially my family.
“My husband Robert has slept for the first time in 12 weeks and the family are overjoyed. I will get to hold my grandchild in October.
“People don’t understand how long I’ve waited for the baby and it’s the icing on the cake at the end of a bad year.
“I’m just over the moon and the relief for my husband. As Alison my sister said, I’ve had the ice-cream and now I’m having the chocolate sauce.
“I’ve been inundated with kindness and offered a holiday in Turkey and a week in St Ives.
“They say Barry is not a nice place to be, but the community has been fantastic. I’ve loved the old people stopping me and saying “I’ve seen you in the paper.”
“I’m not giving up the fight – I want other women to have this treatment – and if Angelina Jolie wants to talk to me I’m always here!”
Lesley has donated her locks that were shaved to the Little Princess Trust – a charity providing real-hair wigs to boys and girls across the UK and Ireland that have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.
To add to Lesley’s fundraising total, visit www.justgiving.com/lesley-woolcock