THE family of a man with terminal bowel cancer are looking forward to Christmas together, after strangers helped them raise over £19,000 for life-prolonging drugs so he can enjoy his last months with them.

Gym enthusiast Ben Millard, 33, of Trowbridge, was only diagnosed with stage four terminal bowel cancer in August, after taking time off work feeling exhausted and generally run down.

His wife Laura, step-daughter Sophie and sisters Abby and Steph began raising money online to buy Avastin, a drug that works to cut off the blood supply to his tumour, which is growing again following surgery.

Avastin is not paid for by the NHS and costs £2,100 every two weeks. But in just weeks, enough cash has poured in on GoFundMe online for the first six-week cycle, which started last week to coincide with Ben’s chemotherapy.

Working as an area manager at Nationwide in Swindon after studying at Frome Community College, Ben enjoys watching rugby and football matches with friends, something his family hope the Avastin will

allow him to keep doing for longer.

Laura said: “We are so chuffed with the amount raised and we would all like to thank everyone for their generosity, we really are so grateful and have been touched by the response.

“We just want to give Ben the best quality of life possible and this has really helped.”

“It has been very hard for us as a family, as Ben had had time off work even before he was diagnosed.

“It was such a shock as he is so young, and we want to raise awareness that young people can get bowel cancer.

“Ben’s doctors and surgeons have been so good, and the surgery extended Ben’s life, although scans found the tumour has grown again.

“The next step for Ben is completing his extensive course of chemotherapy.

“He is focusing on the fact that he will become an uncle in February, which has been such a positive for us.

“We are just so thankful to be able to spend Christmas together as a family.”

His sister, Abby Millard, said: “We are so overwhelmed with the amount people have been donating, even

strangers have been so generous.

“We are so pleased to have raised enough for Ben’s first six-week cycle of Avastin, we thought that it would take a while but to have raised that already is amazing.

“It is an ongoing treatment so we will keep fundraising to get him more six week cycles. Since his surgery he has had more scans which have shown the tumour has grown, and he is in a lot of a pain, but the Avastin will improve his quality of life.”

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/the-bowel-movement