It was a pretty early start for Catherine and I. We had to be in Oxford to meet the coach that would be taking us, along with about 30 other protesters, to London at 9.30am Fortunately for once the M42 and M40 were clear and we zipped down there and arrived at the meeting place nice and early.
Several people were already there, including members of the local press, and we were soon swept up in having photos taken and being interviewed. It was a most peculiar feeling to be honest. I did an interview for Radio Oxford (I have no idea if it was aired !)
Our numbers soon swelled to about 30 and I met up with other patients I 'knew' from the KCUK forum - this was lovely, to actually meet other patients who were going through the same experience. It was easy to spot those of us who were taking Sutent by the white eyebrows !
A couple of photographers and a reporter came with us on the coach for the journey down to Holborn where NICE headquarters are.
We piled off the coach almost straight outside the building and met up with others who had made their own way there - there were over 70 of us protesters by this time - patients, relatives and supporters.
We all trooped over to the steps of the building, a big glass fronted affair, and positioned ourselves in front of it. Most wearing T shirts, all waving posters - and on a very busy high street which caused much interest from passing motorists with lots of tooting of horns and waving and shouting.
Then James Whale arrived - complete with a positive throng of press and within minutes cameras were snapping, films were rolling and reporters were interviewing the patients there. Catherine, who had been an absolutely star all day, was interviewed by a reporter from The Guardian - I didnt really hear what she was saying but it ended with her in tears after being asked to describe what it was like to have a Mum with kidney cancer. Bless her, it was a very emotional day all round.
James addressed us and we decided to enter the offices and see if anyone from NICE was prepared to come down and answer our questions - so we stormed the lobby ! Only to be met by 3 security men and 2 policemen. We waited around for a bit but it was obvious no one was brave enough to come and face us.
So the protest slowly broke up after a couple of hours - but we had made our point in a very loud voice. There was much media interest and the support from the public down there was fantastic - we even had people coming out of NICE's offices on their lunch break saying how much they sympathised with our cause.
I felt so proud to be there - to be representing the patients unable to get funding for these 4 drugs - to be representing the many too ill to travel down and protest themselves.
On the way home we decided this was only the beginning - Westminster next !