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Fundraising bid for Shropshire dad with brain tumour after treatment on NHS refused

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Health | Published:

The family of a Shropshire dad have launched a fundraising campaign after being told the NHS cannot offer him treatment for a brain tumour.

Nick Haves with his son Daniel and daughter Olivia

Father-of-two Nick Haves, from Sheriffhales, was diagnosed with a brain tumour just weeks ago.

It was caused by cranial radiotherapy which Nick received in 1996 as a result of treatment he had for leukaemia.

The 46-year-old has subsequently lost use of his left eye due to it closing completely and he needs immediate treatment in the form of proton beam therapy – a form of targeted radiotherapy – to shrink the size of the tumour and prevent further health complications.

However, due to his age, Nick is not eligible to receive the treatment as an NHS patient and it will cost £59,000 to receive the therapy privately at the Rutherford Centre in South Wales – currently one of only two hospitals offering the treatment.

Doctors have insisted Nick start the treatment later this month so with no time to spare his wife Caroline, son Daniel, 15, daughter Olivia, 13, and friends have rallied together to launch a campaign to raise vital funds needed for the therapy.

A JustGiving page set up two weeks ago to share Nick’s story has already raised more than £35,200, with 479 people pledging support.

Caroline said: “We have been totally overwhelmed with the support for Nick so far.

"It’s just incredible to have raised more than £35,000 in such a short space of time and we are so grateful to everyone who has donated.

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“It’s been such a difficult 18 months for Nick.

"He first knew there was something wrong when he started getting double vision whilst watching Cosford Air Show in 2018.

“His left eye then began to droop slightly and within days his eyelid had closed completely and still to this day remains shut.

"For months he suffered from tiredness and sickness and it took nearly 18 months to get a proper diagnosis.

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“Then of course we found out that he was not eligible for the treatment he needs on the NHS which was just devastating.

"To add insult to injury, Nick is unable to get health insurance because of the health issues he faced when he was younger.”

Treatment

If the fundraising campaign is successful Nick could start the proton beam treatment before the end of October.

He will need 28 doses of the treatment to shrink the growing tumour and reduce the chances of him developing further tumours as well as potential blindness, cognitive and memory problems on top of life-threatening seizures.

The alternative would be for him to undergo a more conventional, less targeted-type of radiotherapy which is available through the NHS.

However, Nick, a leukaemia survivor, has now been told it was this type of treatment which caused his brain tumour in the first place so is keen to avoid going down the same route.

He said: “I was diagnosed with leukaemia 23 years ago and the treatment which I received then was a belt and braces treatment of intense chemotherapy followed by cranial radiotherapy.

“Back then I was obviously grateful for the treatment, but was not made aware what the long-term side effects would be and that it would later down the line cause the brain tumour that I have now.

“Because of where the tumour is located at the base of my skull the risks associated with any kind of treatment are high.

“It means the only option available on the NHS is to have the same kind of radiotherapy which caused the tumour in the first instance so it seems a bit of a vicious circle and a bit of a disaster all round.

“I had been prepared to accept that I would just have to go down this route and deal with the consequences but then my friends in conjunction with my wife and family launched this fundraising campaign and I can’t believe how much it has raised. It really is quite humbling and I cannot thank everyone enough.”

To support Nick visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/inthenickoftime

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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