Friends rally to aid Sam’s fight for life

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A proud father says he is humbled by the response to a fundraising campaign to help his daughter fight a rare form of cancer.

Student Sam Williams, 22, is currently in Prague in the Czech Republic for pioneering treatment after being diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Traditional cancer treatment to fight the tumour, which started behind her nose, could leave her with hearing and sight problems as well as the risk of brain damage.

Proton beam therapy, currently not available on the NHS, can be used to target the tumour with less risk to surrounding areas.

But the family, Sam’s mother Jeanette Griffiths from Biggleswade and dad, Chris Williams from Hitchin, are having to find more than £65,000 to fund the treatment and living costs while out in Prague.

So far more than £13,000 has been raised by friends and family, including £1,500 from the Beegos sandwich bar in Biggleswade during celebrations for its 17th birthday.

Dad Chris said he was staggered by the generosity of people.

“It restores my faith in human nature,” he said. “I’m humbled. She’s a beautiful girl and very, very popular.”

He described the difference between the two treatments as a comparison to carpet bombing and smart bombing.

Traditional radiotherapy, some of which Sam will still need, targets the tumour but can also affect the surrounding areas. Proton beam therapy aims directly for the tumour.

The controversial treatment came to world wide prominence last year when the parents of cancer sufferer Ashya King were arrested after fleeing the UK when they tried to get the beam therapy for their son. They now say he is free of cancer.

The former Samuel Whitbread Academy student, who hopes to become a conservationist, was diagnosed with the disease after being treated for a lump on her neck in February this year, while at Plymouth University where she is studying for a science degree in animal welfare.

After the lump failed to respond to antibiotics she was sent for more tests and was diagnosed with cancer in May.

She has already had four operations plus chemo and radiotherapy on the NHS in a bid to halt the growth of the tumour

Sam flew out to Prague last Sunday to start the proton beam treatment, which is expected to take around 8-9 weeks.

n To help support Sam’s fundraising go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/samantha-williams