Barry’s struggle: Sparwood man fights blood cancer
Sitting at his Sparwood kitchen table in a Puma t-blouse and baseball cap, Barry Marchi seems like your average energetic, outdoorsy dad.
Until you appearance, a touch nearer and notice the bruising at the 56-year-antique’s hands from endless intravenous injections and blood tests, the small Terry Fox Run badge pinned to his cap, and the decided set of his jaw.
Behind Barry hangs a calendar full of scientific appointments scrawled in a purple pen at the same time as nearby is the “concept wall” with homemade posters bearing get well messages, inspirational costs and important documents from his cancer adventure.
“That’s my life proper there, 3 years’ well worth,” he stated, pointing to the “struggle table” with its arsenal of medical statistics and studies on diffuse large B-mobile lymphoma (DLBCL) – the disorder that has dominated Barry’s lifestyles on the grounds that September 2015.
DLBCL is the maximum commonplace kind of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but, remedies presently available in B.C. Have now not worked for Barry, a father-of- and previous mine worker.
After 3 different varieties of chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant didn’t yield consequences, he became advised by means of medical doctors that he changed into refractory – untreatable.
The blood most cancers, which provides itself in bulging tumors in every region possible, has flared up once more, but Barry refuses to surrender.
“They advised me after my stem mobile transplant failed that they basically classed me as palliative and the chemotherapy that I changed into on up till December isn’t going to cure me; it’s just buying me time and what sort of time is the million dollar question,” he said.
“And I said nicely jeez, that didn’t sit down properly with me. I’m not going to quit or surrender, so I contacted the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I said ‘I want help, I want to head look some place else – the USA or Europe, or anyplace’ due to the fact there are specific therapies and distinctive cancer treatments. I said ‘I’ll pass lay in a mud pit in Africa and drink zambuca juice or some thing’… you’ve were given to put out all stops.
“At fifty-four, being informed that there’s nothing for me in Canada, that I’m palliative. We’re all on borrowed time but it’s like man, I’m now not prepared for that, I want to beat these items, I’ve were given an excessive amount of to do yet, to live for.”
With the assist of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and his medical crew in Cranbrook, Barry started investigating DLBCL treatments being trialed round the world.
Through his studies, he observed CAR T-cell remedy, which involves genetically altering the affected person’s T cells – a form of immune device cell – so that they assault the cancer cells.
Barry applied to be a part of a small trial in Vancouver however turned into rejected with the aid of the sponsor.
Now, he has his hopes pinned on getting CAR T-mobile therapy in Seattle, Washington.
If a hit, Barry might be the various first in B.C. To get right of entry to this new, cutting facet remedy, which has shown promising consequences in blood cancer sufferers.
“Last New Years, I made a vow to myself and I says what, 2019 I’m going to the States,” he stated.
“By hook or by using criminal, I’m going to get CAR T-mobile and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been guiding me thru the procedure.”
The most effective trap is the treatment comes with a hefty pricetag of $1.1 million.
Barry is cashing in his pensions and turned into prepared to promote his domestic to pay for the treatment.
However, after lobbying the B.C. Government with an assist from East Kootenay MLA Tom Shypitka’s office, he has been accredited for out of u. S. Assistance.
The information came as a huge alleviation to Barry and his family.
“I’ve had the great widespread of care in British Columbia and Canada that you may get, so I’m grateful for that,” he said.
“I sense privileged and grateful that I’m nonetheless here, alive and kicking and I’m going to attempt the brand new and best, the slicing edge.”