Jemma’s petition to secure life-saving drug hits milestone

A PETITION started by a mother-of-two suffering from a rare form of cancer has received more than 100,000 signatures.

Jemma Peacock's campaign to get a cancer drug on the NHS has achieved over 100,000 signatures
Jemma Peacock's campaign to get a cancer drug on the NHS has achieved over 100,000 signatures

Jemma Peacock, 31, of The Crescent, Cootham, Storrington, has been living with a gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) – a rare form of cancer found in the digestive system – since 2010.

In the near future, Jemma said her current medication, Imatinib, will become ineffective and is keen to be prescribed Regorafenib – which she believes could prolong her life.

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However, Regorafenib was removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund in January meaning that patients do not have access to it via the NHS.

It was upon discovering this that Jemma decided to launch the #100000voices petition to force a parliamentary debate to get the drug reinstated.

“The whole campaign has been totally overwhelming,” said Jemma. “Not many people felt we could do it and there were times when it seemed just too big a mountain to climb.

“GIST cancer is so rare that hardly anyone had ever heard of it so it was hard to get the ball rolling. There was a turning point a couple of weeks ago when we seemed to be in every newspaper and celebrities started tweeting using the #100000voices hashtag.

“In the last few days things have just exploded and we still have to pinch ourselves to believe what we’ve managed to achieve. There are so many generous, kind-hearted people that have helped online and behind the scenes. I simply can’t thank them enough.

“#100000voices has been about a community of ordinary people coming together to support those who needed a voice and it’s been wonderful and emotional to be part of something so special.”

Jemma, who works at Marlin financial services in Worthing, said she is now keen to make sure the debate goes ahead and to get the decision she so desperately wants.

She said: “We will make sure every MP in the country is aware of how important this debate is. They will have all the facts including expert medical opinion showing that Regorafenib allows GIST patients to live without their cancer progressing for considerably longer.”

Jemma was 35 weeks pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with GIST. She needed ten blood transfusions and nearly died. There is currently no cure for the condition once it becomes inoperable.

A website set up for Jemma (www.jemmapeacock.org) includes a link to sign the petition.

A donation fund called Kiss for GIST has also been set up for Jemma and can be found at www.gofundme.com/ma2i0w. All money raised will go towards funding Jemma’s medication should Regorafenib not be provided by the NHS.