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

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

Cancer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

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

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read