Tributes to Rugby’s cancer drug campaigner Colin Howe

Colin Howe passed away on Boxing Day 2015
Colin Howe passed away on Boxing Day 2015

An inspirational man who won the battle to get a £250-a-day cancer drug that prolonged his life has died.

Colin Howe died at his home in Rugby on Boxing Day, aged 55, after battling kidney cancer.

In 2007 Colin was refused the cancer drug Sutent by Warwickshire Primary Care Trust as it was too expensive.

But true to character, Colin and his devoted wife Susan fought it all the way and teamed up with the Rugby Advertiser to launch the ‘Last Hope’ campaign.

The campaign aimed to raise enough money for Colin and fellow Rugby resident and cancer sufferer Anthony ‘Russ’ Jones to be able to afford the life-prolonging drug. Sadly, Russ died during the campaign but Colin was eventually awarded funding for the drug in 2007 from the Primary Care Trust.

Kind-hearted people of Rugby donated to the appeal, as well as family, friends and businesses who were inspired by the pair’s courage.

The drug was only expected to prolong Colin’s life for 11 months but it helped him live for a further six years and he was able to enjoy his final Christmas with his wife, daughters Louise and Vicky, and his granddaughter Ava, who celebrated her fourth birthday on Christmas Day.

“No one should put a price on life,” said Susan, who was married to Colin for 16 happy years. “Colin was courageous, kind and very inspirational in the way he dealt with things and how he supported others who were campaigning for cancer drugs.

“He was so grateful to be alive, all he wanted was to be with the people he loved most in the world and thanks to the support of the Advertiser, The Times newspaper, friends, family and the people of Rugby, Colin had the opportunity to do just that.”

A number of fundraising events were arranged in order to support the Last Hope appeal and the couple’s daughter, Louise, organised the Race For Colin at Draycote, with the support of Great Central Vauxhall. Jaide’s Dance Studio also backed the appeal and held a fundraising event at the town hall.

Colin was first diagnosed with cancer in July 2005 but he battled on and lived for nearly 11 years.

Louise said: “He was the most inspirational man I’ll ever meet, he was a fighter right until the end and I feel honoured to have had him as my father. “His courage and determination kept him with us for an extra 11 years. He was able to become a grandad to Ava and although he only had four years with her he was an amazing grandad. We will keep his memory alive and make sure his life is talked about and celebrated.”

Vicky said: “There are not enough words I can say to describe just how important my father was to me and what a powerful influence he will continue to be. He was my best friend and I loved him dearly. He filled a space that no one will ever replace.”

The family would like to thank everyone who has supported them and also the medical staff who provided ‘amazing care and support’, including district nurse Celine Kelly-Smith, Macmillan nurse Tracey Evans, GP Katherine Leach, Oncology consultant Andy Stockdale and Myton Hospice.

Colin’s funeral will be held at Rainsbrook Crematorium on Friday, January 15 at 3pm and everyone is welcome to pay their respects.