Readers can help secure debate on revolutionary drug
Campaigners for cancer drug need help to obtain a Commons debate
A Cambuslang woman who lost her mother to pancreatic cancer is appealing to Reformer readers to help secure a debate in the Commons about a potentially life-extending drug.
Fiona Brown’s world came crashing down in 2003 when her mum, Chrissie, died from pancreatic cancer at the age of just 56.
For the past two years, 35-year-old Fiona has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the disease and she has already helped secure one parliament debate on the issue.
Now she and her fellow campaigners hope to gain the 100,000 signatures needed to secure a debate on Abraxane, a revolutionary drug no longer available in England on the NHS.
They have until this Friday, March 4, to reach their goal.
Former Cathkin High and West Coats Primary pupil, Fiona, said: “Pancreatic cancer is the fifth biggest cancer killer and will be the second by 2020.
“It’s not had the same attention as other cancers and the statistics haven’t got any better in 40 years.
“It shouldn’t be a postcode lottery. Abraxane is available in Scotland and Wales, but we need it to be available in England as well to improve our statistics and to raise awareness.
“On average, it can help provide an extra two months survival to pancreatic cancer patients, in some cases even up to two years longer.”
Chrissie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2002. After undergoing a dangerous operation, doctors were optimistic about her chances.
But early in 2003, the cancer returned and she died on March 26 that year, just days before Mother’s Day.
With Mother’s Day taking place this weekend, Fiona, who has since lost another family member to the disease, admits the memory of her own mum is driving her on: “Yes, absolutely it’s a motivation, as is meeting other people that have been affected by it.
“It was actually after reading a story in the Reformer in 2013 about it that I decided to get involved. I started looking into it.
“At first, if someone mentioned it I would just go quiet.”
Fiona, who stays in Halfway, has been a tireless campaigner for Marie Curie over the past few years and she remains hopeful things can improve for pancreatic cancer patients.
The petition on Abraxane so far has just 36,000 signatures, meaning a lot of work will need to be done to secure the debate.
But she said: “It sounds really scary but if we get some momentum we can do it.
“I’m so determined, if you get an early diagnosis then people can survive and if this drug can help lengthen people’s lives then it’s got to be worth it.”
To support the petition, go to http:// petition.parliament.uk/petitions/107388
Happy times Chrissie Brown (centre) passed away in 2003 from pancreatic cancer, and is pictured with husband Tom, son Iain and daughter Fiona
Plea Fiona Brown wants people to support a parliamentary debate