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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 August 2007, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Cancer drug daughter to fight on
Kate Spall with mother Pam Northcott
Kate Spall has vowed to help other patients like her mother
A woman, whose mother died from a rare kidney cancer, has vowed to fight for a restricted drug to be made available to all patients.

Pamela Northcott, from Dyserth, Denbigshire, died on Sunday aged 58.

She was given the palliative drug Nexavar on a trial basis after her two daughters interrupted a health trust meeting to protest.

Daughter Kate Spall said the Pamela Northcott Fund was a "fitting tribute" to continue to help other patients.

Nexavar is not ordinarily available in Wales, meaning health officials refuse to fund it.

The drug, which can cost up to 40,000, is not a cure, but can help some patients.

Although not yet recognised by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (Nice), Mrs Northcott's family claimed the drug was available in more than 70 English NHS Trusts.

I have no sense of relief or peace...for now I am raging at the unfairness of it all
Kate Spall, daughter

In May, sisters Kate Spall and Emma Northcott interrupted a board meeting of Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust to demand their mother be given the drug.

Within days, they were told that the drug - which can help slow the progress of a tumour - would be made available to their mother on a two-month trial basis.

The trust had said it was required to follow the recommendations of the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group, which ruled out the drug, in all but "exceptional circumstances".

Mrs Northcott fell unconscious last Thursday, before passing away at St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph on Sunday.

Mrs Spall said: "By the time she got it, we knew it couldn't save her, but it did enable us to have a few more precious months together.

"She hung in there even when unconscious. The nurses hadn't seen anything like it. They told us she sensed we were there.

Emma Northcott with mother Pam
Emma Northcott (top) helped her sister to demand Nexavar

"They said if we went outside she would go. I went outside with my dad, and we were talking about the fund. And that's when she passed away."

Mrs Spall now plans to help other patients win the right to have Nexavar and a similar drug, Sutent.

"There are no words in the world to describe the horror of this journey.

"I have no sense of relief or peace - maybe that will come later - for now I am raging at the unfairness of it all.

"Mum and I had some beautiful conversations in the last week.

"She wants me to put my energy into my family and ensuring all kidney cancer patients get the treatment they deserve.

"We decided to set up a specific fighting fund, The Pamela Northcott Fund - the right treatment at the right time for kidney cancer patients.

"Mum came up with the strapline as this epitomises where it all went wrong for her.

"So far I've already been involved in helping 35 patients win their appeals to have the drug treatment and another 15 are in progress.

"I feel this is a most fitting tribute to an inspirational woman."




SEE ALSO
Cancer drug trial follows protest
10 May 07 |  North East Wales
Sisters in fight for cancer drug
09 May 07 |  North East Wales
Ex-policeman criticises hospital
09 Jan 07 |  North West Wales
Hospital to share safety changes
20 Nov 06 |  North East Wales
Hospital cancer service is saved
15 Sep 06 |  North West Wales
Hospital may close surgical ward
07 Nov 05 |  North East Wales
Desperate midwives 'run ragged'
28 Mar 06 |  North East Wales

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