A FAMILY has made a plea for funding to allow a man to receive vital cancer treatment in Germany.
Andy Chapman, 53, was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct in February, 2015.
After he became ill, doctors told him he had gallstones which had become infected and put him on a course of antibiotics. But after he continued feeling unwell, Andy and his wife Zena requested a second opinion at Dewsbury Hospital – to be told he had cancer.
They were told the cancer was still at an early stage and surgeons at St James’ Hospital in Leeds subsequently removed just over a third of his liver in April, 2015.
The family was told that Andy, who is originally from Dewsbury but now lives in Horbury, was recovering well following the surgery and in October, 2015, a scan showed he was doing fine.
But the father-of-two became ill again at Christmas that year and was told in April last year that the cancer had returned. Doctors said it was incurable and gave him six months to live.
Zena admitted that the news was tough to take. “We were told that Andy had six months to live and we said we couldn’t accept that,” she said. “He has two daughters who are 14 and eight and he is my husband of 33 years, so we said we couldn’t accept that he would only have six months.
“The doctors said that if Andy was to undergo a course of chemotherapy it could extend this to 12-18 months, so he started it in May last year.”
Due to complications, Andy could only complete 11 of his scheduled chemotherapy treatments and seven radiotherapy treatments – so the family began looking for alternatives. They discovered the Hallwang Clinic in Dornstetten, Germany, which offers a different course of treatment to that available on the NHS.
They returned this week from their first visit to the clinic, where Andy spent nine days.
The Chapman family has been forced to foot the cost of the treatment as immunotherapy for bile duct cancer is not available on the NHS.
Zena said: “It is very expensive but what price do you put on a person’s life? We are hopeful they can get the cancer under control because lots of people live with cancer every day. So far I would say we have spent around £75,000 on this treatment.
“We need some big donors to come forward. Around £25,000 has been raised in two weeks, which is amazing, but we really need to keep the momentum going. It just shows how much Andy is loved.”
A number of fundraising events have been organised, including a charity tombola in Dewsbury market tomorrow (Saturday).
To donate to the fund, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/AndyChapman.