Yorkshire mum in cancer drugs victory

A terminally-ill mum-of-three has won her battle to get a drug which could prolong her life just two weeks after her story was featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Trudy Cusworth, who has breast cancer, has been told a course of Avastin will be funded by the NHS.

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As revealed in the YEP, her specialist at St James's Hospital in Leeds said she could benefit from the 20,000 drug, only available if NHS bosses apply for special funding.

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However, other doctors at Leeds Teaching Hospitals did not agree that it would help her.

Mrs Cusworth, who has sons, Nathanial, 11, Dylan, seven and Jasper, ?ve, was faced with either raising the money herself or making a last-ditch application to the new Emergency Cancer Drugs Fund, which pays for medicines not funded on the NHS.

Now she has learned from her consultant that the application to the fund has been successful. It will pay the initial course of Avastin, and the NHS will fund her next series of chemotherapy.

Mrs Cusworth, who lives near Selby with husband Steve and their sons, said: "I am so delighted.

"The generosity of Yorkshire people has been overwhelming but it's the result I wanted because I didn't want to have to rely on other people.

"If you live in this country you have a right to treatment on the NHS and hopefully my plight will have opened people's eyes to the fact that

if I can do it, they can."

The 40-year-old was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2006 and had surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She later went into remission but became unwell at the end of last year and tests showed the cancer had spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.

Doctors told her the cancer was inoperable but chemotherapy could help - and in September, her specialist said she might also benefit from

Avastin, which could slow down the illness.

The medicine isn't routinely available on the NHS, so doctors normally have to go to local health trusts to apply for special funding.

Before that, a panel of medics from the patient's hospital must back the view that the drug will help them. However, the panel at Leeds hospitals did not.

When she was considering fundraising herself, messages of support and offers of donations flooded in from generous YEP readers - including an anonymous donor who offered 5,000.

Mrs Cusworth said she was very touched by the response.

She said: "These people don't know me but they want to help, whether

its emotional or financial. Even the fact that they have picked up the phone means something to me that there are some lovely, kind people out there.

"Thanks so much to everybody."

She is set to find out more about when she will start her chemotherapy at an appointment later this month.

Her fundraising attempts have currently been put on hold, although any funds already donated will be saved in case they are needed in future.

Mrs Cusworth plans to keep friends and supporters updated via her Facebook group and petition website: www.trudycusworth.com.


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