Bruce Leverington was given three months to live when kidney cancer spread to his lungs last Christmas. After a long battle with health chiefs in Lincolnshire, helped by Kate Spall, he finally received the drug Sutent in April. Six months later, the 68-year-old former bus driver tells the Chronicle's Robert Cumber how his tumours are rapidly shrinking and he's the healthiest he's felt since his diagnosis
I was first diagnosed with kidney cancer in June 2007.
I thought I was clear after having a kidney removed, only to be told just before Christmas that it had spread to my lungs.
The doctors said I had three to six months left to live and there was nothing they could do for me.
Then my oncologist told me about this drug called Sutent but said it's very unlikely I'd be able to get it.
You can't understand how awful it is to know there's a drug that could help you and yet be told you're not worth it.
We lost the first two appeals for the treatment but the third time we actually got to meet the people making the decision.
I was sitting there literally begging for my life but I had nothing to lose because I thought I was a goner.
They tried to blind me with science but thanks to Kate I had all the facts and there was no way they could turn me down.
I started a three-month trial in April and the drugs made a huge difference. My tumours didn't grow at all during that period, having increased 50 per cent in the previous five months.
So I was devastated to find out the PCT was withdrawing funding.
The oncologist told me to go home and enjoy the time I had left but I said it's my life and I'm not ready to give up.
Luckily, I had Kate on my side and after five days of sheer hell the trust agreed to reverse its decision.
I've just finished my second course of treatment and the tumours are now in retreat.
Every day I spend with my wife, Barbara, our two sons and three grandchildren is a bonus.
I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for those drugs and I'd urge everyone who's been refused treatment to stay positive and never give up.