Longhoughton dad and RAF Boulmer serviceman with bowel cancer seeks chance of life-extending treatment

Funds have been pouring in to provide an RAF veteran with potentially life-extending treatment.
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Ian Trushell, from Longhoughton, was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in August 2022 and given around a year to live.

The 49-year-old has been receiving palliative chemotherapy through the NHS but his family are fundraising to get him treatment in Germany.

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His wife, Sarah, explained: “He faces very limited treatment options due to a rare KRAS K117N mutation. With recent setbacks, time is of the essence.

Ian and Sarah Trushell with children Eloise, George and Henry.Ian and Sarah Trushell with children Eloise, George and Henry.
Ian and Sarah Trushell with children Eloise, George and Henry.

"We refuse to accept the given timeline. To achieve this, we are seeking funds to introduce Avastin to his treatment plan, a beacon of hope in this challenging journey.

"We then hope this will give us access to further treatment options, maybe SIRT, or maybe overseas options like TACE or trials over in Germany.”

The fundraising total now stands at nearly £30,000.

"There’s been an incredible response, which has been really helpful,” said Ian, a 24-year veteran of the RAF based at Boulmer.

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Ian Trushell, second from right, with fundraisers at Beadnell.Ian Trushell, second from right, with fundraisers at Beadnell.
Ian Trushell, second from right, with fundraisers at Beadnell.

"The treatment we are looking at costs around €4,000 per cycle every four weeks but you don’t know how many cycles it will take.”

Sarah added: “We don’t know how well it will work but it might open the door for other procedures.

“We are hoping we can rally together and ensure he gets the chance to enjoy more precious moments with his family and continue his service to our country.”

The couple have three children, Eloise, 17, George, 15 and Henry, 14.

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Mind Dippers at Beadnell.Mind Dippers at Beadnell.
Mind Dippers at Beadnell.

“The kids have been incredible,” said Sarah. “It’s obviously hard for them but we’re trying to stay positive.”

Ian added: “It’s not a dirty word. We don’t want it to be like the elephant in the room so we try to keep a smile on our faces.”

Ian had suffered for several years with what he suspected was IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

But in early 2022 he started to struggle with his energy levels.

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“I didn’t smoke or drink and I had a healthy routine and I remember one time being absolutely shattered by what would normally have been a routine nine mile cycle ride,” he recalled.

"Then I went for a bowel movement and there was a lot of deep dark blood so I got myself to the medical centre and went for a colonoscopy and quite quickly I was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer.”

He is currently getting regular chemotherapy sessions at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle which he admits leave him feeling ‘pretty rough’.

"I’ve got four more cycles left but the best I can hope for is that it’s not growing,” he said.

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A cold water therapy dip to raise funds for Ian was held in Beadnell on World Cancer Day earlier this month.

It was organised by Mind Dippers, part of Alnwick-based Mind and Sole which promotes well-being and mental health recovery.

Christine Smith of Mind and Sole said: “I have to say a massive thank you to all passers-by who kindly donated. We managed to raise just under £1,000 with many participants being sponsored. An even bigger thank you to all the leaders and volunteers of Mind Dippers and Mind and Sole.”

Thanks were also given to Longframlington butcher R Green & Son, Morrisons Alnwick and Poundland Alnwick for donations.