GreatWall International Cancer Center
Ben's Brave Cancer Battle    

Source: The Sentinel

Terminal cancer patient Ben Howard hopes he can be kept alive by pioneering treatment
offered in China.

Friends and family are raising thousands of pounds to pay for
Ben's gene therapy treatment.

The Ben Howard Appeal has been set up weeks after the
seemingly healthy 21-year-old warehouse worker was told he had
cancer.

And medics say the tumour in Ben's small intestine is so
aggressive it is inoperable and drugs can only control the pain.
Ben said: "I was devastated when the doctor told me I had cancer and that it was inoperable.
But I feel optimistic about the gene therapy. At the moment I will try anything."

Stoke fan Ben and his 47-year-old mother Carol, who live at Levita Road, Oakhill, are pinning
their hopes on the gene therapy treatment. Mrs Howard found out about the treatment after
speaking to a friend in Nottingham, whose business partner had also been diagnosed with
terminal stomach cancer two years ago and had undergone the procedure and is now back at
work.

Medics at the Haidian Hospital, in Beijing, which carries out the procedure, have already told
Ben he is a suitable for the therapy.

But the potentially life-saving treatment costs £2,000 a dose in addition to private medical
fees, and it is not yet known how many doses Ben will need. Mrs Howard is also trying to
locate a British or European gene therapy trial so Ben would not have to go to China for
treatment.

She said: "We have been offered the gene therapy by the hospital in Beijing, which will supply
the treatment to us, but it is up to us to raise the money and find a treatment centre as close
to home as possible.

"The doctors here are so despondent about Ben's chances, and I wouldn't believe what gene
therapy could do myself if I hadn't heard of someone who had been completely cured by it.

"Ben is so young and such a popular and caring lad that if anyone deserves a chance like
this, it's him."

The Ben Howard Appeal is being supported by traders in Oakhill and teachers at Ben's former
school, Oakhill Primary School.

As well as raffles and collections, belly dancing troupe The Trent Tribals has agreed to raise
money around the city.



Last Updated ( Friday, 15 August 2008 17:12 )