Pals wait on appeal decision after fundraising bike ride
FRIENDS and family of a Port Talbot mum who are battling for her to have a life-prolonging drug are waiting for the outcome of their appeal.
Gina Herman, 44, of Tan-y-Groes in Port Talbot, has been turned down by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board for the drug on cost grounds, her friends and family have claimed.
The drug Yervoy (ipilimumab), which treats melanoma can add years to a sufferer's life.
Her close friend Tracey Lewis has now launched an appeal against the decision.
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"We are just waiting to hear what they have got to say," she said.
"We just have to keep our fingers crossed.
"I just don't want to let Gina down."
A spokesman for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board confirmed that they have received an appeal against the decision made by the Individual Patient Funding Request Panel with regards to Mrs Herman's funding application.
She added: "The appeal will be heard as soon as all the necessary information has been gathered together."
While waiting for the outcome of the appeal, friends and members of the community have been raising the £80,000 needed to pay for her treatment.
So far around £30,000 out of £80,000 needed has been raised for Mrs Herman.
Miss Lewis, who runs Ferrari's on Station Road in Port Talbot, has organised several successful fundraisers.
She said they have been overwhelmed with the response from the community in helping them raise the funds.
"It is amazing," she said.
"We have raised over £30,000 in just under three weeks.
"Every day someone else comes forward, someone new who we have never met donates some money."
Miss Lewis said the drugs, which are administered through a drip, are needed for Gina urgently.
"We are desperate," she said.
"She needed the drug back in January, it just has taken us this long to get this far."
Mrs Herman first had a skin mole removed back in September 2010.
She was denied a trial of the drug after suffering a seizure.
Mrs Herman has already been diagnosed with spots on her lungs, liver and heart, following the spread of melanoma.
But a scan has now revealed the spots have also spread to her brain.
Although she has been on a month-long course of the drug interferon, along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy it has made no difference to her health.
Mrs Herman has been told by specialists the drug is her only hope of prolonging her life by a number of years.
Miss Lewis of Brynhyfryd Road, Margam, said they have raised around £18,000 at a sponsored bike ride and fete event at Tata Steel's Football Club held on Sunday.
"Around 150 people took part in the bike ride," she said.
"It blew me away.
"I turned to corner and there they all were in the car park all dressed up.
"Hundreds of people turned up for it."
The next fundraiser is this Saturday at the Tata Steel Football Club from 7.30pm. Entertainment will be provided by a host of bands.
Then on Sunday a sponsored 11-mile walk from Swansea's County Hall to Blanco's in Port Talbot will be held to raise further funds.
Earlier this month a two-hour fun day at the Aberafan Shopping Centre collected £5,000.
Marie Partridge had her hair shaved off at the event to raise cash and a Zumbathon was held.