Family overwhelmed as strangers raise thousands for dad’s cancer treatment

A family have been left in tears of gratitude after a campaign to raise funds for their "amazingly strong" dad's cancer medical bills raised thousands of pounds.

Martin Hayward and his wife, Julie Richards know the next few months will be a struggle, but are incredibly grateful for the generosity people have shown, meaning they won't have to worry about footing the expensive costs of treatment for his complex form of blood cancer.

Martin, 57, who lives with Julie and their 12-year-old son Nathan in New Brighton, has been told his best chance is a second bone marrow transplant, but doctors need to get his leukaemia into remission before that can happen.

Wife Julie who works as a school teacher revealed that doctors believe a new form of chemotherapy is Martin's best option, but shockingly, Martin does not qualify for that particular treatment for free under new NHS commissioning rules.

A friend of the family, Darren Earle, set up a JustGiving crowdfunding page to raise £10,000 towards the eye-watering costs which has already raised £3,600.

Julie shed tears as she said: "It's amazing. There have been donations from our friends and people we don't even know particularly well.

"The staff at my school have been donating.

"Martin is amazingly strong, he's very calm and he has got the best mental health you could want for someone going through this.

"He does a lot of stuff for other people, he helps out at his cricket club, Wallasey Cricket Club, he's a real hard worker.

"It seems so unfair, he does not deserve this."

Julie said the chemotherapy course will cost £10,000 per month, while staying in a private part of the Christie Hospital in Manchester will cost around £950 per day.

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In a cruel twist, in July Martin was made redundant from his job at logistics firm Denholm in Liverpool, where he worked as an admin manager – which had included medical insurance as an employee benefit.

Martin was originally diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at the end of 2018, and underwent a bone marrow transplant thanks to a donor registered with charity the Anthony Nolan Trust.

The operation was a major success, with Martin able to return to work in January of this year.

However he began to feel unwell around five weeks ago and was admitted to Arrowe Park Hospital – where a consultant found so called blast cells in a blood sample, signs that blood cells are not being produced properly.

This led to the devastating news his AML had returned, and a second transplant was the only cure.

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Julie says as well as helping to save Martin's life, she hopes that sharing his story will encourage people to sign up to the register of potential bone marrow donors, which can be done via the Anthony Nolan Trust here or blood cancer charity DKMS here.

On the Justgiving page, Mr Earle wrote: "As [Martin] does not qualify for NHS treatment due to his young age (57) and having lost his employer’s medical insurance when he was made redundant in July 2020, he has been told that he will have to pay for private treatment in order to save his life.

"His stay in hospital is costing £40 an hour while he receives this treatment.

"All we are asking, as a contribution to the cost of Martin’s treatment, is the price of a pint of beer or the price of an hour in hospital or whatever you can afford to give.

"Please give if you are able to help allow Martin to spend some more quality time with his loving wife, Julie, and son, Nathan, to take a batwalk in Roydon Park and enjoy a pint again in a New Brighton hostelry."

Anyone wanting to help with Martin's fundraising campaign can do so here.

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