Blackburn cancer patient Elliott Simpson fundraises for his own treatment

Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist Andrew Fletcher

A cancer patient from Blackburn is fundraising for his own life saving treatment after being denied funding on the NHS.

26-year-old Elliot Simpson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer in December 2020.

He and his family need to find 180 thousand pounds for Immunotherapy treatment that his doctors say he needs, to save his life.   Elliott was diagnosed with malignant Melanoma after his hairdresser noticed a mole on the back of his head. He says it was the worst day of his life: '' I had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease a year before, so that just made everything 10 times more complicated when I needed to start treatment.''

Elliott's cancer was discovered during a haircut by his hairdresser.

In a straightforward case, Elliott would have been treated with a combination of two Immunotherapy drugs, but because of his Crohn's disease, he had to start with a single weaker drug which was funded on the NHS.

Following bowel surgery, Elliott's oncologist recommended that he should move onto the combined Immunotherapy treatment.

But the National Institute for Care and Health Excellence (NICE) would only approve funding for one of the two drugs, leaving Elliott to fund the second himself.Elliot said: ''My oncologist is backing me all the way. He has put in so many appeals that just keep getting turned down. They know that I need this treatment.''

Elliott's parents

Elliot's father Huey Simpson says the strain on the family has been huge: ''It's bad enough having the heartbreak of your child having cancer but then also having the pressure that we are under to have to raise the money to save his life  - it's unbelievable.''Elliott's parents had considered selling their home to fund the treatment. They are now combining caring for him with campaigning for a change to the rules around funding for cancer treatments.Their case has been taken up by Blackburn MP Kate Hollern. They have also written to the Health Secretary and have appealed to NICE, who say they cannot comment on individual cases.

Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn

Huey said: ''Elliott's cancer has changed as it has progressed but the funding hasn't. The funding is rigid and won't change, whilst the cancer has now spread to his kidney and liver.''A fundraising campaign supported by friends and family has helped them to raise £90,000 which is half of the money they need. Events including a sky-dive and a Full Monty night arranged by his friends have helped Elliott be able to start the treatment which is giving him hope for the future.

Elliott says: ''The doctors said if I hadn't already started this treatment that I'm paying for, then it could be a matter of just a couple of months to live. Hopefully this treatment has worked well and we just need to save as much money as possible to carry it on for two years.''

Find out more about Elliott's fundraising here.