Sheffield cancer battler defies prognosis to meet his seventh grandson

Barrie Mitchell from High Green who is recovering from cancer after being part of a drug trial for Lenvima with grandson Logan
Barrie Mitchell from High Green who is recovering from cancer after being part of a drug trial for Lenvima with grandson Logan
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A Sheffield cancer battler who was told he had 18 months to live in 2011 was here to welcome his seventh grandchild into the world thanks to a new treatment.

Barrie Mitchell now has his heart set on celebrating his wife’s 50th birthday next year after a clinical trial drug made him feel better within just seven days of taking it.

The 52-year-old family man first knew something was wrong after he slipped while working as a building supervisor in June 2011.

“I heard this horrific crack,” he said.

“All my work colleagues were laughing and saying I had a football injury.”

Barrie had a fortnight off work with a suspected groin injury and then returned to his job - but after four months he went back to hospital as he could stand the pain no longer.

Barrie, of High Green, said: “They said they didn’t know how I had been working because I had a snapped pelvis.”

After a number of tests, Barrie was finally told in December 2011 that he had incurable thyroid cancer and a tumour on his pelvis.

He said: “I turned around and said, ‘Oh right, what are we going to do?’

“The doctor said there was nothing we could do really but he mentioned clinical trials so I volunteered.”

Barrie’s trial began in March 2012 but as his tumour continued to grow he realised he was on the placebo.

The tumour felt like the size of a tennis ball and he could barely move because he was in so much pain.

Medics at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield put Barrie on the drug – now known as Lenvima – in July 2012.

He said: “Within one week of taking it I was feeling better.

“The tumour had shrunk and it was shrinking dramatically. To this present day I’m still taking the tablet and I’m still here.

“I shouldn’t be here – they gave me 18 months to two years. But I feel as strong as anything.”

Barrie, who lives with his wife, Jane, is now enjoying pottering about in his greenhouse, going out for meals, and spending time with his three daughters and seven grandchildren including his youngest grandson, Logan, who was born last year.

He said: “It’s unbelievable how this drug has made me feel and what it’s given me. I can’t thank clinical trials enough.”