Harrogate Grandad’s £30k cancer cure hope

Peter Williams at home with dogs Bailey and Cody
Peter Williams at home with dogs Bailey and Cody

The family of a Harrogate grandfather are hoping to raise £30,000 for life saving cancer treatment currently not availible in the UK.

Harrogate father of two and Grandfather Peter Williams, 58, was suffering from back pain before he was diagnosed with Chordoma, a very rare form of spine cancer just four weeks ago.

Peter Williams and family.

Peter Williams and family.

He was taken to 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 Thorpe Arch, will be left paralysed by the operation to remove the tumour, his family said.

His daughter Sarah Wright, 31, said: “He just thought he had a bad back, he went to a chiropractor, we thought it was just general back pain after years of hard work.

“We thought it might be a slipped disc but it turned out to be a tumour the size of a melon.”

Mr Williams lives with his wife Sheila, 54, a social carer on Crossways Drive in Harrogate, just a few minutes walk from Sarah and her two children Ashley-Paige, 6 and Joshua, 3.

“He is a very hands on granddad, he loves playing with them, running around after them, I can’t imagine him in a wheel chair, he will be devastated, he is a very proud man.”

She added that the family, including her brother James Wright, 23 are all still in shock over the news.

“It is very sudden, around 10 years ago he had skin cancer in his ear which was removed, we didn’t think we would go through it again.”

She added: “Him and my mum will celebrate their wedding anniversary next year and were planning a holiday to the Mauritius, they were making plans for the future and now this.

“We all just want him to get the treatment he needs, I want him to be able to walk me down the aisle one day.”

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiotherapy which causes less damage to surrounding tissue than traditional radiotherapy. It is most often used in children with brain tumours as their brains are still developing, but can be used to treat adults where cancer has developed in a part of the body where damage could cause serious complications.

Last year Brett and Naghmeh King were jailed after they took their son Ashya from hospital to the Czech Republic for proton treatment. The pair were later released without charge and the five-year-old was given the all clear earlier this year.

A spokesperson from the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham said: “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the clinical details of an individual. However, we can confirm that Chordoma, which is a very rare form of spinal cancer, can sometimes be effectively treated by very high dose radiotherapy known as proton radiotherapy.

“This has only recently been established by international consensus. Currently, this treatment is not available in the UK, but NHS England can refer patients in need to a location in the USA for treatment once their situation has been properly assessed.

“Presently, around 60 patients a year are funded to receive this treatment overseas each year. If an NHS consultant believes a patient needs this treatment, the case is sent to a special panel at NHS England for consideration and decision.”

Mr William’s family has set up a Facebook page Click here and a justgiving fundraising page Click here to try and raise the £30,000 needed to send Mr Williams to Italy for the pioneering treatment.