Ex-soldier crowdfunding for brain tumour treatment

Former Welsh Guards solder, Cai Keehan, 32, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in March 2016.  He was working in a private security job in Basra, Iraq when his symptoms first became apparent.

Talking to the Daily Mail, Pamela Teehan, his partner, described a FaceTime call she had with him: “I knew there was something wrong by the way he was talking. He started to dribble down one side of his face, and said it had gone numb.” Cai had also been experiencing tingling in his face, and just days after the call he suffered a seizure. Scans showed a shadow in his brain which was subsequently diagnosed back in Cardiff as a grade 4 inoperable brain tumour. The couple, from Caerphilly, have a 10 year old son and have been focussing on organising their wedding, whilst Cai initially undertook intensive radiotherapy and then chemotherapy.  Led by the coach’s wife, their local rugby club have given their support.  Debbie Roberts has set up a JustGiving page on behalf of the Deri Rugby Football Club to raise £10,000 to help fund proton beam therapy for Cai.  It would not be curative, but could help to prolong his life.   The treatment is not currently available in the UK or on the NHS, and so Cai would have to travel to Prague in the Czech Republic covering all costs for treatment and travel.
What is Proton Beam Therapy? NHS England describes proton beam therapy as an emerging type of radiotherapy that that does much less damage to surrounding tissue than conventional radiotherapy. It uses beams of accelerated protons to kill cancerous cells, but because the protons stop once they hit cancerous tissue, there is much less impact on surrounding healthy cells. However, whilst it can be useful for treating cancer in critical areas of the body such as the brain or optic nerve, there is currently not enough substantive evidence available to understand it's full effectiveness.    At the moment there is only one centre in the UK offering proton beam therapy.  The NHS Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Merseyside uses a low energy proton machine to treat patients with eye cancer.  This machine cannot be used to treat most brain tumours as the low energy beam is not able to penetrate far enough.
For now, Cai has told the Daily Mail: “I am just taking it one day at a time. I have done 13 years in the army so I have been in tough situations before, but this is by far the biggest battle I have faced.”  
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