October 7, 2008

Your Kindness Has Moved Me to Tears


The sister of a seriously-ill young dad who has been refused NHS cash for a scan says she has been moved to tears by Evening Telegraph readers.

Some have even offered cash to help Denise Ford pay for the scan privately. And she says she is now looking into setting up a fund so well-wishers can help.

Labourer Brian Herrett, 29, is suffering from a rare form of cancer that is ravaging his vital organs.

He was told that a special type of scan would provide a detailed picture of his tumours and give him a fighting chance of survival - but the NHS has refused to pay, although if he lived in Derby instead of a few miles away in Belper the pounds1,300 cost would be covered.

His family were angry at the decision but, because the cancer was spreading fast, there was no time to appeal. Instead, Ms Ford said she would cover the cost of the scan.

But after we broke the story on Saturday, several people contacted the paper's website, offering to donate money.

"We have been so touched by people's words of kindness and support," said Ms Ford, 37, of Little Eaton.

"It is lovely that complete strangers would care enough to help him. It made me cry."

Mr Herrett, father to 11-month old Deon, first found a lump in his testicle in 2006.

He said he went to his GP but was reassured that it was nothing serious and thought nothing more about it until he started to feel ill a year later.

His fiancee, Amy Henfrey, 23, said his condition deteriorated until, in April, it got so bad that he went to the accident and emergency department at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. Doctors there found the cancer had spread to his stomach, lungs and brain and Mr Herrett, of Nottingham Road, Belper, began a nine-week course of chemotherapy.

He also had surgery to remove two tumours from his brain and the original cancerous lump from his testicle but was told he might have a third tumour growing on his brain.

A positron emission tomography scan (PET) could reveal out how aggressive his remaining tumours are. But Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust, which funds care outside the city, refused to pay, saying it had discussed the idea with the oncologist concerned and "the reasons for using a PET scan were unclear".

But if Mr Herrett lived in Derby, where care is funded by Derby City PCT, the scan would have been provided.

To make a donation, e-mail Denise on [email protected] net.com.

Saturday's Evening Telegraph said the newspaper had been refused permission to photograph Mr Herrett on his ward at the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. In fact, the hospital concerned was Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.

We apologise for the error.

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