Barry Marchi’s cancer treatment has finally concluded. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Treatment concludes in Barry’s battle against cancer

Now that the dust has temporarily settled, Marchi said it feels good to still be fighting.

After a long four years and two months, Barry Marchi’s treatment stage in his battle against blood cancer has finally concluded.

Since September 2015 the Sparwood resident has been battling diffuse large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Look back: Sparwood dad looks to U.S. after cancer treatments prove unsuccessful in B.C.

The Free Press previously reported that Marchi was southbound to receive a groundbreaking treatment for his sickness, CAR T-cell therapy, in Seattle, Washington. The new treatment cost $1.1M, but was covered by the provincial government.

Look back: Barry Marchi’s spirits high as treatment in Seattle continues

After bone marrow biopsy’s, pet scans, bridging chemotherapy, lymphocyte depletion chemo, CAR T-cell insertion and more, Marchi returned to home soil and relished in his newfound freedom.

It’s Friday morning and Marchi is sitting in a coffee shop, bound for Cranbrook to receive a blood test.

In reflection of the past several months, Marchi said his 90-day trip to the U.S. was good – as good as could be. Sixty of the 90 days were spent at the University of Washington hospital, and 30 at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Although he is now visiting the hospital less, Marchi remains prescribed to several different drugs, meant to protect him from Pneumococcal pneumonia, of which he is highly susceptible.

Aside from avoiding big crowds and sick people, Marchi is a hypothetically a free man. Now, it’s a waiting game. Speaking to his recent CAR T-cell treatment, Marchi said it’s a one-shot deal.

“It’s a one-shot deal right now,” he said. “Time will tell.”

When Marchi left Seattle, he received a pet scan, which showed that the CAR T-cell therapy had been extremely effective. Several tumours on his body had receded, which his doctors were happy to see.

“They were quite happy with the way the therapy went,” said Marchi. “They didn’t expect a clean slate.”

In one month’s time, Marchi will travel to Vancouver for further examinations, which will allow time to show the true effectiveness of the treatment.

“It’s running about a 70 per cent success rate, and out of that 70 per cent, about 50 per cent have had a prolonged remission,” said Marchi. “Whether it’s a cure or not – in the cancer world they don’t really say you’re free or cured until after five years.”

Now that the dust has temporarily settled, Marchi said it feels good to still be fighting.

“I’ll be honest with you, there’s a lot of people that don’t make it that far, and their battle is short-lived,” said Marchi. “I feel pretty grateful to have the chance to still be fighting it, and keep fighting, and possibly cured, or (have a) substantial remission.

“A substantial remission of 20 or 25 years, hey… at this stage what more (does) a guy want?”

Although his battle is not yet over, Marchi thanked those who have been with him on his journey thus far. In June, a fundraiser for the Sparwood man raised over $80k, which helped Marchi recover from years of unemployment due to his battle with cancer.

“The support I’ve had, you know, pre, during and post… the community, the whole valley, the people from across the country… as far as California, all supported me,” said Marchi.

“Just the gratitude that you feel from knowing that, and having that done to you, it’s quite amazing, overwhelming. How do you pay back, tell people, or show your appreciation for that kind of stuff?”

Since it has consumed his life, Marchi has kept up-to-date with any medical news in Canada. He was excited to hear that CAR T-cell therapy has officially begun in Quebec; a first for the country.

Over the past four years, Marchi has made many friends; not just the members of his medical team, which he profusely thanked for never giving up on him, but friendships also formed with those battling similar diseases.

After the story surfaced about Marchi’s pursuance toward treatment in the United States, a man from Vancouver Island seeking guidance contacted him. Last week they again spoke, and Marchi was excited to find out that the man was home from his treatment in the United States, and in good spirits.

“It gives people a new hope, of beating this, and surviving it,” said Marchi.



editor@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

After a long four years Marchi has returned home after receiving treatment in the U.S. He is pictured outside the University of Washington Medical Center, where he spent 60 of his recent 90-day trip to the U.S. File photo

Just Posted

First responders host holiday food drive

Frozen fingers knocked on doors around Fernie on Wednesday evening as part… Continue reading

Fernie Physiotherapy hosts open house

Health care professionals and community members gathered at Fernie Physiotherapy and Sports… Continue reading

Rob Morrison sworn in as Kootenay-Columbia MP

Parliament set to reconvene on Thursday with election of House Speaker, Throne Speech

Fernie students continue climate strike

On Friday morning, students from Fernie Secondary School, The Fernie Academy and… Continue reading

Kootenay Employment Services gives hope to young people

The Kootenay Employment Services 9KES) Aspire Program, headquartered in Cranbrook, is celebrating… Continue reading

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

Most Read