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Panorama appearance and huge support for Ilfracombe tumour appeal

PUBLISHED: 13:56 04 April 2013

Michele and Gary Marshall.

Michele and Gary Marshall.

Archant

Gary and Michele Marshall grateful to all those who have offered to help his battle for potentially life saving treatment.

AN Ilfracombe cancer sufferer and his wife have been astonished by the kindness of strangers as they bid to raise money for treatment in America.

Gary and Michele Marshall say they cannot believe the response since launching a race against time to battle the malignant tumour that has left him with less than a year to live.

The news in January came as a huge shock to the couple, married since 2008, but they have vowed to find a way to beat the disease, pinning their hopes on alternative treatment available only at the Burzynski Clinic in Texas.

Not only have people have come forward in their droves with donations, messages of support and plans for fund raising events, the couple have even been visited by BBC documentary Panorama.

Reporter Richard Bilton and the crew visited Ilfracombe last week to interview Gary, 54, for an episode focussing on the clinic and the news many Britons are now travelling there for treatment not available on the NHS. It is expected to be broadcast around April 8.

Meanwhile the appeal total stands at more than £6,300 and Gary told the Gazette: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has given us their support so far and it is difficult to express in words just how much it is appreciated.

“Knowing the support I am receiving from everyone helps me to stay strong and even more determined to beat this.”

Michele, 53, said the response had been amazing, adding: “It really makes both of us feel great, because we can’t believe people have been so kind. Doing this has also helped to keep me focussed, which is good.”

His previous employer John Fowler Holidays has already offered £1,000 and from May 17-21, six John Fowler staff plan to cycle the 371 miles between all 14 company holiday parks to help the appeal.

Gary’s daughters Stephanie, 23 and Melissa, 19, are already busy helping, as is Michele’s son Shaun Crawford, whose office at play.com in London raised £450.

Michele’s friend Belinda Harris has been busy helping to co-ordinate events – her friends Jamie Stone and David Stratford plan to complete the Two Moors Walk from Ivybridge to Lynmouth.

Plus Belinda’s daughter Briony and her friends from Petroc and Pilton intend to hold a sponsored fancy dress skate-a-thon from Braunton to Bideford on the Tarka trail.

There is also a quiz night plus raffle at the George and Dragon in Ilfracombe on Tuesday, April 9, from 8-11pm.

Gary is a member of Berrynarbor Parish Council and it has also offered to help support the appeal.

Find out more about Gary and Michele’s story and how you can make a donation, by going to www.garysjourney.net

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