UK Woman Seeks Help

Heather Parkinson, 27, of Queensway, Leyland, has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer affecting the lymphatic system, and doctors believe the only way forward is a trial treatment being run at London’s Royal Free Hospital, which would cost the primary care trust a one-off £3,000.

But after keeping Heather hanging on for 13 weeks while they made up their minds, health bosses at NHS Central Lancashire devastated her by refusing to fund the treatment, citing the fact that the drug was not yet licensed or proven to work as their reason.

However, other PCTs across the country have paid for patients to have the trial treatment and the Royal Free Hospital is currently providing one patient a week with treatment, which involves patients being given a radioactive drug that kills the cancer and then spending a week in isolation in a lead-lined room.

Since the Lancashire Evening Post highlighted Heather’s plight, she has been inundated with offers of cash to fund the treatment which health chiefs have refused to pay for.

However, if Heather funds the trial treatment called CD25 privately, the cost shoots up from £3,000 to £16,000.

Heather, who owns a pet shop in Kirkham, near Preston, which is currently being run by her retired mother, today revealed that her need for the trial treatment has become even more pressing, as chemotherapy is no longer having an effect on her cancer.

Heather said: “I have been having chemotherapy every two weeks for the last 10 weeks while I was waiting for the PCT to make their decision about this trial drug.

“But I have now been told by doctors at the Christie Hospital in Manchester that they are stopping the chemotherapy, as it is not working.

“You can actually see the tumours bulging in my neck now. I need this trial treatment as soon as possible.”

Heather has now received pledges of cash totalling around £10,000 and has been amazed at people’s generosity.

Heather said: “People have been so kind, and even though the PCT have refused to budge on their decision it is lovely to know that friends, family and complete strangers are so caring.”

Anyone who would like to help Heather should send cheques, made payable to “Helping Heather”, to Kirkham Pet Centre, 7 Market Square, Kirkham, PR4 2SD.

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