A CLOSE-KNIT family face a desperate race against time to find funds for pioneering treatment for their dad who is battling terminal cancer.
Dad-of-six Wilf Allen, 62, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the end of December and was given three to six months to live.
His devastated family are now trying to raise as much money as possible to send him to St Albans, in Hertfordshire, for innovative injections that Wilf says could give him better health and even a cure.
Around 50 of his friends and family will be taking the plunge at 11am this Friday by taking part in a sponsored dip at Seaton Carew to raise vital funds to help him. Wilf, who lives in Severn Close, Peterlee, with wife Ann, 61, said: “My initial reaction to being diagnosed was ‘how am I going to tell the family?’”
He kept the heart-wrenching secret to himself for days to avoid disrupting his daughter’s wedding, which was taking place the following Saturday.
Wilf, who had to give up his job as a quality control manager for USG in Peterlee and is unable to afford the treatment on his benefits, was referred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
But medics told him his condition was inoperable as it spread to major blood vessels, and all they could offer was palliative chemotherapy, which could extend his life by three to six months.
However, Wilf opted out of due to his fears of side effects on the quality of his life.
But Wilf was given a glimmer of hope in January when his son-in-law told him about alternative treatment, bio-resonance and homeopathic treatments, which are available from a private specialist in St Alban’s and have shown positive results.
Folk guitarist Wilf is also following a strict diet with homeopathic and herbal supplements to increase his chances of survival.
Wilf, who is dad to Jon, 40, twins Ruth Cain and Rita McNaughton, 38, Rachel Middleton, 32, Laura Thomas, 29, and Jane Linden, 26, said: “Rather than viewing my illness as a death sentence, this made me see it more of a challenge.
“I held out some hope - but of course it wasn’t without a cost.”
He has already had six days of injections to boost his immune system and target the cancer - but at a cost of £2,500.
Wilf is due more treatment in June and already generous relatives and friends have raised around £5,700 to help Wilf.
“Everyone’s support has been a real cushion to me,” he added.
“As you can imagine the whole scenario has been quite daunting for us all so the last two months have been challenging. But now we are all focussed and determined to try to beat this problem and can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“People who don’t even know me or have only heard about me have heard of my plight and their hearts have moved them to want to do something to help, the love and support that I have had through private donations and fund-raising events has been so overwhelming.”
Daughter Ruth, who lives in Newcastle, said: “We are facing a race against time to get this money, we are just hoping the treatment works.”
The dippers are meeting at the Seaton Hotel and anyone wanting to sponsor them can visit www.gofundme.com/27679s