"I wont sit around and let this beat me"


Evening all,

Apologies if this has been done before, but I couldn't find anything via the search function.

Click here

This was from this evenings Gosprt News

I won't sit around and let this beat me

Sgt Ian O’Keefe with his family

Published Date:
06 February 2009
By Matt Jackson
Defence correspondent
A father-of-four who was told he had less than a year to live is battling to raise £15,000 for drug treatment which could extend his life.
Army sergeant Ian O'Keefe, from Lee-on-the-Solent, found out he had a deadly brain tumour after he went to the opticians with an aching eye.

Sgt O'Keefe, who works at HMS Sultan, Gosport, was referred to Queen Alexandra Hospital, after an eye test uncovered vision problems.

The tumour was removed and he went through months of chemotherapy only to be told that doctors cannot save him.

Sgt O'Keefe's wife Martine and children Jordan, 14, Georgia, eight, and Jaxson, three, have been by his side through his treatment.

He is now pinning his hopes on a drug, Avastin, which could give him three more years – but it costs £15,000 for a six-month course.

He is going to ask doctors at St Mary's Hospital for the drug, which can shrink tumours.

But because it is not on an approved drugs list the NHS may not pay for it.

He is now taking on a midnight marathon-length walk around Gosport to raise money for his treatment.

'I'm not going to sit around and wait for this to beat me,' he said.

'I want to do the best I can to give me more time with my family.

'I've had all the treatment I can and now I'm off it for three months, during which time the tumour is likely to grow back.

'I'm going to do the walk because I know there's a chance I won't get Avastin.

'If I do raise the money and then get Avastin, I'm going to donate it to a brain tumour charity.'

Dr Martin Ashton-Key, Area Director of Public Health for NHS Hampshire said: 'We have a special referrals panel led by senior doctors which considers individual applications for drugs which are not normally funded by the PCT.

'The Panel makes decisions based on the evidence of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the drug, taking into consideration the patient's individual clinical case.

'If the panel declines an application there is an appeal process that allows for a review based on new information put forward by the patient's doctor.'

I saw this in the paper, and admittadly don't know a great deal about the case. However, the fact he is still serving, and has a young family really touched a nerve.

I'm gonna make a personal donation but I was wondering would this qualify for assistance from H4H, or even from us here on Arrse?
Compare this attitude to that of the Goody creature who hopes to get £1m for an exclusive on her marriage to a convicted thug.

Good luck Fella

Does this thread belong in Current Affairs to get it the notice it deserves?


Herrumph, good idea. Could someone please repost this in Current Affairs or anywhere else that would help raise awareness. I can't do it myself as i'm viewing Arrse via my mobile at present. Thanks.


I'm feeling disillusioned by the complete lack of support by the members on here. 600+ people have viewed this thread, yet the response has been underwhelming.

Come on guys, this is one of ours, still serving and with a young family. Sgt O'keefe, you are on here and read this, if there is anything i can do to help, in anyway please let me know. If you need lifts or shopping or anything i'll help if i can.


Book Reviewer
Sgt O'Keefe has my deepest sympathy but it just doesnt always come down to the simple equation Money + Avastin = longer life. His cancer is likely to be a glioma which Avastin can deprive of blood supply limiting its growth. The "three years" quoted is not typical. Even with Avastin the trials have shown life expectancy extended by roughly 6 -12 months. That said, the numbers of patients involved in trials are very few, so this figure may alter, possibly significantly.

Cancer specialist medical staff will have explored all avenues and Avastin would be the final option.
Also bear in mind that this drug has serious side effects including convulsions, some fatalities have been recorded, severely high blood pressure (causing strokes) and blood chemistry alterations, so it can shorten life expectancy too. The severe side effects affect 25% of patients.

Sgt O'Keefe should not blind himself to the difficulties involved in taking Avastin and if he and the doctors agree that it would make a difference, then I hope that the bueaucrats dispense with their inhuman cost versus benefit analysis and let him have the best chance he can have.


Why isnt the MoD funding his treatment or does he have less than 3 years left to serve?
mercurydancer said:
Even with Avastin the trials have shown life expectancy extended by roughly 6 -12 months.

Let's see:-

£15,000 -> 12 months of life : Undustifiable

£12,000 -> One case of 70 year old vintage port for govt. wine cellar : Justifiable

£116,000 -> Jacqi Smith's lodging expenses : Bargain

£2 billion -> Indian space programme funded by UK : Cheap at half the price

Government hypocricy : Priceless
This year I have seen my patients have more than this amount spent on them for MOD funded plastic surgery. I would question if this case had been pushed through the right channels. I have a good relationship with the office that makes the decisions on what will and will not get funding. I would be more than happy to do a bit of digging to find out the gen on funding for these sort of treatments.

Sgt, if you are on here feel free to get in touch, I will do all can to help.
ugly said:
Why isnt the MoD funding his treatment or does he have less than 3 years left to serve?

I recently had a patient given £7K worth of tummy tuck, she had 18 months left.
Does the fact that he appears to be MPGS have anything to do with it?


Forastero said:
Does the fact that he appears to be MPGS have anything to do with it?
Should that matter?
That's not what I'm asking or what I'm implying. MPGS may have different TORs which may preclude them from med treatment through the MoD - I don't know, hence the question.
Adapt & overcome chaps... Can the 'gentlemen' of the press be our friends on this one?

Any avenue we can get.


Book Reviewer
Biscuits_Brown said:
Adapt & overcome chaps... Can the 'gentlemen' of the press be our friends on this one?

Any avenue we can get.

Girls work in the press too. Just saying.

Most local papers have a 'pet campaign' running on the Avistan issue. The press is a hard world so they usually focus on a Mum with a kid with (x) months to live. Sorry if that sounds hard, but thats the way it works.

A good chum of mine is down with bowel cancer and we're trying to leverage the primary care trust to pay for Avistan for her.

Anybody wants to PM me, I'll share the little I know about trying to use the press for leverage.

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