Potential new lifeline for Big C battler Anna

Anna Verrico and family before her charity race, which raised �20,000 for Cancer Research.
Anna Verrico and family before her charity race, which raised �20,000 for Cancer Research.
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A treatment in Germany is the latest hope of a lifeline for Epworth’s young mum Anna Verrico, who is battling breast cancer.

After reading about a trial treatment given to a woman with the same triple negative cancer as his wife, solicitor Paul Verrico tracked down both the patient, who lives at Oxford, and the German clinic involved, to investigate further.

Paul said: “The woman’s symptoms are reduced to a manageable level... although she is not cancer-free, she has been given an ‘extension’. The clinic has a two-month waiting list. Chances of success are 20 to 40 per cent but that is worth the punt given the situation. It will mean more fund raising but I am not agonising on that right now.”

Immunotherapy involves human cells being sequenced then combined with Newcastle Disease Virus to try and kick start the body’s own immune system to recognise the cancer cells as toxic and kill them, rather than cherish them, explained Paul, who added: “The lady I spoke to had gone from dying to symptom-free in nine months.”

But costs could be as high as £75,000.

“We will never give up,” added Paul. “Friends of the family such as business woman Sue Taylor of Epworth have pledged to continue the fund raising drive.

“It looks a massive figure but does not need to be paid up front, so if treatment is over six months we just need to keep the current efforts ongoing.”

There was some good news for the family recently in that Anna was told her cancer is not BRCA positive, which means there is less chance of their daughter Lucia, three, developing the cancer as an adult. The testing for this in America is not covered by insurance but results do affect choice of treatments.

Isle residents have surged forward to help the young family of four build up cash towards ground-breaking treatment that it is hoped could benefit 36-year-old Anna, with multiple ongoing efforts.

Around £16,000 has been raised to date, and rivalling charity calendars featuring Epworth businesswomen and male gym members from the town are being put together by Isle photographer Steve Oatway. They will be launched officially later this month.

There is a new Team Verrico facebook group that quickly gathered over 600 members. A text raffle is to be launched soon by Kat Communications with prizes including an ipad and a cruise, plus an online auction for a local artist’s painting. This Saturday a family folk dance is at Epworth’s Imperial Hall from 2.30pm, and on November 23 a ‘onesie’ sponsored walk will take place at Kirton-in-Lindsey.

Two toy tractor auctions made £55 and £120 last weekend and on November 19 Sunspot at Epworth will host a pamper shopping evening to benefit the Verrico Appeal.