Press appeal success grants 'an extra three months of life'
HoldtheFrontPage, Dec 22, 2005
A press appeal to help extend the lives of people suffering from an illness that can kill within months has been a success.
The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle wanted a drug to be made available on the NHS to mesothelioma sufferers.
The illness is an industrial disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibres and results in fatal lung disease.
The paper published the pictures and stories of six men who have the disease, and who will die soon without the Tyneside-developed drug Alimta, available on the NHS in other parts of the country.
The Give us a Chance campaign, could bring them an extra three months of life, as well as a better quality of life in their final days, without having to find up to £24,000 for private treatment.
The campaign has been hailed a success after the Northern Cancer Network revealed patients in the north-east would now be able to get their hands on the drug.
Chronicle readers sent in more than 2,000 petitions backing the call. The first treatments are to begin soon.
The newspaper’s editorial on launch day said: "While Alimta is available on the National Health Service in Liverpool, London and Scotland, asbestos victims in the north-east have to pay £24,000 for treatment.
"There is no cure but Alimta can extend life by up to three months and provides patients with a better quality of life in their final days.
"This allows them to put their affairs in order and ensure their families are secure.
"Given our region’s industrial heritage there are many potential as well as current sufferers who would benefit from the drug."