Family raising £200k so dad can see sons grow up

When doctors told a father-of-two about a drug that might beat his terminal cancer his family began raising money to help fund it.

Michele Ammolla (left) is being assisted in his funding by his sons William, 6, and Henry, 10, and his wife Georgina. Pictures: Derek Martin
Michele Ammolla (left) is being assisted in his funding by his sons William, 6, and Henry, 10, and his wife Georgina. Pictures: Derek Martin

Michele Ammolla has already beaten the odds once.

Now the garden centre manager, his wife Georgina and their sons are raising money to help do it again.

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Michele, 44, who lives in Parham Road, Findon Valley, was diagnosed with stage three rectal cancer last year and told it was inoperable.

Doctors also found nodules on his lungs but described them as ‘small and insignicant’, Michele said.

However after undergoing chemotherapy doctors told him the rectal cancer had shrunk enough to operate and the surgery went ahead.

But a scan just a couple of weeks ago revealed the nodules found last year had spread. Michele was told his cancer was terminal.

“If I do nothing then I’ve got one to two years, tops,” Michele said.

“Chemotherapy would hold the clock back but not totally get rid of it.”

But there is hope: Michele’s oncologist told him about new immunotherapy Keytruda which is being trialled.

The new drug de-cloaks cancer cells so the immune system can seek them out.

“Certainly these drugs gave me new hope,” Michele said.

There’s a possibility he could get on the next trial, but only 257 patients worldwide will be accepted, and only half will get the new drug.

“Playing Russian roulette when you are 40 with two kids is not the thing to be doing,” Michele said.

Alternatively Michele can bypass the trial and pay for the drug privately.

Keytruda costs £7,000 for each cycle.

The family are trying to raise £200,000 in the hopes it will allow Michele to see his sons grow into young men.

“It feels a bit alien putting yourself out there. I’ve never asked for anything in my life.

“Dying doesn’t bother me, it’s what you leave behind.”

Michele and Georgina have two sons: Henry, 10, and William, 6. “We’re trying to tell them but at the same time not devastate them”, he said.

Michele was also keen to highlight the ‘fantastic’ service he received at Worthing Hospital.

“I am very glad to be living here in Worthing and have that facility,” he said.

Members of the public can donate to Michele’s campaign by visiting his fundraising page.

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