Express & Star

Fundraiser to get Gulf War veteran potentially lifesaving cancer treatment making steady progress

A fundraiser for a Gulf War veteran from Pelsall who has brain cancer has reached £24,000, nearly ten per cent of its target.

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Ava and Michelle

The family of father-of-two Leslie Athersmith are trying to raise £250,000 to fund lifesaving private treatment. He was diagnosed with a gliosarcoma brain tumour in March this year.

Three fundraisers are planned later this year and his wife Michelle has recently put her prized camera worth £1,000 up for sale as she looks to raise as much money as possible herself.

The money raised will go towards the cost of potentially lifesaving DC Vax L immunotherapy treatment which is only available privately in the UK and can allow people to live for many years cancer-free.

Leslie, who is nicknamed Ava, has previously had surgery to remove most of the tumour, alongside radiotherapy and chemotherapy to slow down its growth once again, but these measures only work temporarily and the illness has a general prognosis of eight to 18 months.

The two fundraising events arranged so far are one at Pelsall Cricket Club on Friday, October 27 at 7pm and a charity music night at the Magic Lantern, Walsall on Saturday, November 4 from noon until later.

Michelle, who first met Leslie when she was 13 and married him this year for the second time, said: "I am determined to try and help raise as much money as possible and selling off my possessions is nothing to me as you can replace them but I won't be able to replace Leslie.

"We have the charity events coming up and people have been amazing on the JustGiving page which is up to £25,000 so they have all rallied round and I would like to thank them for that – it shows the high regard in which Ava is held."

To donate to the fund go to