Community rallies to support dad with terminal cancer

Father-of-two Michele Ammolla is feeling the best he has for quite some time.

Monday, 22nd May 2017, 3:09 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:16 am
Michele Ammolla and wife Georgina with sons William and Henry. Photo by Derek Martin DM17313723a

He might have terminal rectal cancer but he is feeling in control and even had some good news on Thursday.

An appointment with his oncologist revealed one of the cancers on his liver has disappeared altogether.

Michele, 44, of Parham Road, Findon Valley, is now in a better position and can wait a few more months before starting chemotherapy.

“The cancers are still there and it is still classed medically as terminal but they haven’t grown and I feel the best I have felt in the past couple of years,” he said.

“I have felt empowered for some time but for the first time, the doctor could not come up with anything more than I could. I have learned so much in the last year.

“The oncologist was of the opinion that they will grow at some point but I take a different view on it. Some of them have actually decreased and there is one on the liver that has disappeared altogether.

“All cancer is, is your immune system out of sync. Effectively, some cells have gone rogue and you are overhealing yourself. That is a nice way to think of it.”

Michele, his wife Georgina and sons William and Henry, who both go to Vale School, have had huge support from the community.

More than £19,000 has been raised towards treatment and further events are planned, including a big fun day at Worthing Rugby Club on July 1.

Michele said: “It has been humbling. It has given me choices. I could have agreed on Thursday to start chemo but for me it is about banking quality time now.”

He had been considering the immunotherapy drug Keytruda but he has found out recently that he is not compatible because his cancer is not aggressive. Instead, he is considering Avastin, which he cannot get on the NHS due to the cost but can purchase privately.

“Some people respond really well to it so my view is, give it a try,” said Michele.

Friends Doug and Sara Banks set up the website www.meds4miggy.com to keep everyone informed and Michele hopes it will become a one-stop reference point for others fighting cancer.

Not only does he talk about the different things he has tried, like overhauling his diet and Chinese herbal medicine, he gives advice about benefits, as he found it difficult to find easy access to information about the process and the best path to take.

Michele added: “You can accept what they say but there are many drugs out that could be helping so many people. You can buy them privately so money gives you options.

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who are going to make it happen but there are thousands of people who don’t have that support network. Hope is such a powerful thing.

“One of the things I have learned is that you the person can take control. If you want it enough, make it happen.

“I really want the legacy to live on and to turn it into a charity to help other people who haven’t got the support that I have.”