A THORNBURY man with an incurable form of cancer has started a new treatment, thanks to the kindness of well-wishers.
In less than a week, hundreds of people donated more than £11,000 to Rob Hale’s online appeal – enough for the first round of chemotherapy.
Rob has acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
He was rejected for treatment with a chemotherapy drug called Nelarabine on the NHS as it is palliative, which means it is to ease his symptoms rather than a cure.
But thanks to the fundraiser, he paid for a first course of the treatment privately at the end of April – and hopes it will buy him more time.
Rob said he was overwhelmed when the appeal hit £5,000 in the first day. It had passed £12,000 as the Voice went to press.
He said: “I woke up in the morning, less than 12 hours after creating it, and just burst into tears when I saw the donations that had come in overnight and the kind messages accompanying them.
“I honestly didn’t expect such an overwhelmingly positive response.”
Rob was diagnosed in 2021. In December the 33-year-old aerospace engineer was told his cancer was incurable; he hosted a ‘living funeral’ to say goodbye to friends and family in January.
Now he is hoping the new treatment will keep him well enough to see the birth of his sister Nikki Foss’s baby boy this summer.
Rob said the donations and money from his parents had enabled him to start the first round of private treatment, which takes 21 days, including five in hospital.
He said: “This chemo won’t cure me, but they hope it will slow down the leukaemia enough to make another treatment they’ve applied for viable when it arrives.”
Rob’s doctors have asked an American pharmaceutical company for a free course of another chemotherapy drug which, if successful, the NHS might consider buying in the future.
He said: “They have applied for the other option on compassionate grounds, but it can take upwards of four to six weeks to arrive, and the consultant fears that at the rate I am declining, it may arrive too late.
“This won’t save me, but they hope it will ease my symptoms or hopefully buy me an extra few months.
“I want to be remembered for never giving up and for taking all the options at my disposal.
“I’m going to die this year regardless, but thanks to these donations I might get to see the birth of my nephew at the end of summer.”
Rob’s fundraising page is at www.gofundme.com/f/Robs-chemo-fundraiser.
Rob is also urging people to join the Anthony Nolan Trust stem cell register.
An NHS England South West spokesperson said: “The NHS provides treatments that are deemed clinically and cost effective by NICE – the regulatory body.
“All treatment is given based on a clinical decision on what is the best care for a patient.”