Joy as NHS agrees to fund Harrogate grandfather’s cancer treatment

A Harrogate grandfather who feared that conventional cancer treatment would leave him paralysed has flown to the United State for pioneering care.

Saturday, 5th September 2015, 8:00 am
NADV 1506152AM Peter Williams and family. Peter Williams with grandchildren Ashligh Kingsley(6) and Joshua Kingsley(3), stepdaughter Sarah Wright and wife Shelagh. (1506152AM10)

Peter Williams 58, was suffering from back pain before he was diagnosed with Chordoma, a very rare form of spine cancer, in May.

He was taken to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham where he was told that proton therapy was his best hope of beating the disease.

Without proton therapy Mr Williams, an engineer at Mawsons Ltd at Thorp Arch, would have been left paralysed by the operation to remove the tumour.

For weeks his family desperatly tried to raise the £30,000 needed to pay for the pioneering treatment after they were told the NHS wouldn’t pay out for the treatment.

The family issued a plea in the Harrogate Advertiser and organised several events before the NHS offered to pay for the proton therapy.

Last week Peter and his wife Sheila, 54, who both live on Crossways Drive in Harrogate flew to Florida to begin the course of treatment.

His step-daughter Sarah Wright, 31 said: “After lots of fundraising we were told that the NHS had looked at my dad’s case and along with the doctors in America decided to grant him funding for the treatment. It really felt like winning the lottery.

“We are using a small amount of the money we raising to help them with living costs as they will be there for three months, and the rest will be going to Chordoma UK to help other people with this horrible disease.”

Only around 60 patients a year in the UK get NHS funding for Proton Therapy.