Anna overwhelmed by caring public support

Anna Flaws with MP Lindsay Roy at the petition launch
Anna Flaws with MP Lindsay Roy at the petition launch
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POWERFUL public support is propelling a local health campaign for a national fair deal.

Cancer patient Anna Flaws is fighting to secure NHS funding for a drug which could increase her lifespan.

The drug, Herceptin, is available in England to treat Anna’s type of illness – oesophageal cancer.

But the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has not approved it for treatment in Scotland, for economic reasons.

NHS Fife, which follows SMC guidelines, has so far declined to finance it.

Last month, Anna (49) launched a petition with the help of Central Fife MP Lindsay Roy, asking the Scottish Government to ensure there was parity between Scotland and England to ensure people had the same access to National Health Service treatment for cancer and other illnesses.

Anna, from Methilhill, hopes to collect the completed sheets around the end of January.

If it can be arranged, she would like to present them to a high-profile Scottish Government figure, such as Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy.

Anna has been overwhelmed with the support so far, as friends, family and colleagues have distributed sheets to a host of shops, businesses, pubs and workplaces around Levenmouth, including the Mail’s Mitchell Street office in Leven, and many more.

Anna, a mental health nurse with the NHS, was diagnosed in November 2010 and told she may only have nine months or so to live.

Since then, she has responded well to Herceptin, which is more commonly used against breast cancer, and is due further treatment next week.

The drug would cost around £40,000 a year and Anna has paid for it herself up to now – although she’ll probably be able to do so for longer, thanks to a variety of fund-raising ventures organised on her behalf.

Among these was a recent on-line auction of racing pigeons, arranged by homing bird enthusiast Archie Herd, of Leven, which gathered £1855.

One Leven woman, who helped distribute the petitions, said: “I just wanted to help. Nobody knows when they are going to be in this position.”

Anna told the Mail: “The local support I have had has been absolutely amazing. It has given us faith, and given us some hope for something.

“What ordinary people do is just amazing.”

MP Lindsay Roy said: ‘’I am delighted at the response to Anna’s petition in such a short space of time.

‘’We estimate several hundred people have signed it already– I expected nothing less from the caring people of Levenmouth.’’

Mr Roy has now written to the Herceptin manufacturer, Roche Pharmacueticals, asking it to consider offering the drug to Anna on a subsidised or free basis as part of ongoing trials.