New start for homeless Worthing cancer patient

Andrew Stonestreet
Andrew Stonestreet

A HOMELESS man from Worthing who was refused funding for cancer therapy two days before scheduled surgery is now on the road to recovery.

Andrew Stonestreet hit the front page of the Herald in February after funding for his anal cancer treatment was twice refused by West Sussex Primary Care Trust, despite numerous experts claiming the brachytherapy – a specialised type of radiation treatment – would be the best possible solution.

Faced with the prospect of a colostomy bag for the rest of his life, Andrew, who is a former alcoholic, embarked on a six-month struggle to try to win back the funding, writing to East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton for help.

The future looked bleak for 51-year-old Andrew, after a letter from the Department of Health said it would try to gain the funding for him, but could not guarantee success. However, last week, Andrew received a call from Macmillan Cancer Support, informing him he was due to have his treatment at the Mount Vernon hospital in Middlesex.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Andrew. “So I rang the clinic, to double check. But it was all confirmed and I was in and out of hospital within five days.”

Andrew said while the brachytherapy was painful, he could not be happier.

“It did hurt a lot,” he said, “but it’s all worth it. I feel so much better in myself, a huge weight off my shoulders. And my mum is looking so much better for it, too. Like her stress has been taken away.”

To put the icing on the cake, Andrew has also been given a flat in Bognor Regis by Arun District Council, and is looking forward to the future.

He said: “I feel very, very lucky. I don’t have a lot, but it’s a roof over my head and independence, which means the world. I am just so pleased.”

Andrew said he has also been offered the opportunity of a job – restoring furniture for a charity in Chichester.

He said: “I feel my life has turned around. I want to thank everyone who has supported me. I feel like I can really look forward to the future now.”