Top clinic gave inspiration to brave cancer patient Claire

Determined: Claire Cunningham.
Determined: Claire Cunningham.

When terminal cancer patient Claire Cunningham was rushed across Europe to a specialist clinic in Germany she was not expected to survive the night.

The 50-year-old, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago, had been told by medics in the UK that nothing more could be done.

After she was given days to live last November, friends and colleagues flew her to Europe and drove her to the Hallwang Clinic in a camper van.

At the clinic she started expensive treatment which doctors in this country said she was too ill to have.

Claire, of Crigglestone, said: “I was dying. I’d been sent home by both the NHS and private sector and just told to go to a hospice.

“When I got there they didn’t think I would last the night.”

Within days of arriving at Hallwang, she was walking again - and five months later she is back home and running her own flooring company after doctors carried out groundbreaking immunotherapy.

But she is still not free of the illness and is determined to raise enough money for more treatment.

Claire also wants the government in this country to provide more access immunotherapy, which uses specialist drugs to teach the body’s own immune to fight the disease.

She said: “The fact they don’t do it here is an absolute travesty. There are people dying every day. If this treatment was available and you didn’t have to pay people would be living.”

Claire described how medics used cells from a tumour she had removed to create specialist drugs to target her illness which cost thousands of pounds a dose.

She told how fellow patients at Hallwang, in Germany’s Black Forest, inspired her to stay positive during the tough treatment.

Claire, who runs Total Flooring Solutions in Ossett, said: “It’s gruelling. The side effects make you very, very ill, but not like chemotherapy.

“They were the most inspirational and positive people that like me had been given days to live.

“I consider myself blessed.”

Now Claire and friends are continuing with a huge fundraising effort.

Events include a musical evening and dinner at the Cedar Court Hotel, Denby Dale Road, on June 16. Performers will include Richard Daniels, Ritchie Penrose and Liz Keeting. For tickets call 01924 416641 or e-mail sales@tfsltd.org.ukasdf