North West Wales

Welsh cancer patient forced to move to England dies

Irfon Williams

A Welsh cancer patient who was forced to move to England to get treatment has died.

Irfon Williams, a father-of five from Bangor, Gwynedd, moved in order to receive the drug Cetuximab to treat his bowel cancer.

A medical review of the drug followed a campaign by 46-year-old Mr Williams and it is now available in Wales.

His wife Becky said he "passed away peacefully yesterday evening with me by his side".

Despite initial treatment success, Mr Williams was told last year the disease had spread to his lungs and other parts of the body and could no longer be cured.

In a Facebook post, Mrs Williams said: "Throughout, Irfon faced his illness with courage and dignity."

She said: "In his final weeks he has been nursed at home surrounded by those who love him.

"There has been no battle lost to cancer, his body became tired but his mind was as strong as ever until the end."

Image caption Irfon with wife Becky and children Lois, Owen, Beca, Sion and Ianto

She described her husband as "a gentle person" and a "dedicated and proud father", adding that he "never complained and always used his situation to help others".

"Every second counted for Irfon who was so full of life and for anyone who knew Irfon life was always fun when he was around," she said

"As completely devastated as I am at losing my beloved husband I feel so so fortunate and very proud to have been able to spend the last 10 happy years of my life with him."

In an interview last year, Mr Williams said he had no regrets over making a personal battle against cancer public in a fight for treatment.

"I have wondered, very, very occasionally, whether I should have gone so public - should I have just gone quietly and got on with things," he said.

"But very quickly I think back to the impact that some of our campaigning has had and I've no regrets at all."

He had highlighted the decision to hold an independent review of how patients in Wales access drugs not normally available as one of the victories for the Right to Live campaign.

He was also invited to sit as the only patient on the panel by Health Secretary Vaughan Gething last September.

Claudia McVie, Tenovus Cancer Care chief executive, said: "Irfon worked tirelessly to make access to cancer drugs for patients in Wales fairer.

"As a result of his campaigning, patients in Wales can now access the drug Cetuximab to treat bowel cancer, a legacy to be very proud of."

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