Leamington man with rare form of sarcoma cancer looking for new home

John Marsh at hospital during a chemo treatment
John Marsh at hospital during a chemo treatment

A Leamington man with a rare form of sarcoma cancer is looking for a new home after he says damp wet conditions have left his current flat unsuitable for his recovery.

John Marsh was diagnosed with a rare aggressive angiosarcoma cancer in May 2018.

John said: “I got out there because of the mould and poor living conditions. We've just got to put this out in the open. We need help."

John is looking for help to find a clean healthy place to live while he continues to get medical treatment and attend doctor's appointments.

He has already been through 15 session of chemo therapy and another 30 sessions of radio therapy to his scalp.

John said the company who runs his building, Midland Heart, found accommodation for both him and his fiancee, Amanda Pittaway, over the last six to seven months. But he's been told he must now return to his old flat at Russell Terrace by the end of this month.

The couple has had to throw away lots of property after the damp mould got into it leaving much of it with a bad smell.

Officials with Midland Hart have said the couple's flat is now ready for them to return to and poses no threat to Mr Marsh's health after the property was refurbished.

Gary Hardy, the director of housing with Midland Heart, said: “Miss Pittaway and Mr Marsh were temporarily moved out of Russell Terrace seven months ago so £2,000 of internal work could be carried out, including replacing plaster-work and redecorating.

“We made considerable effort, working with other housing providers, to find a suitable temporary home in Leamington Spa. Ultimately a flat was found with a private landlord, which we’ve been paying the rent on.

“We have advised Miss Pittaway and Mr Marsh that their flat is now ready to move back into and notice must be given to their current landlord. The Russell Terrace property poses no risk to Mr Marsh’s health.

“If they don’t wish to return there, they can choose to end their tenancy with us and take on the rent at the private property, end both tenancies and look for alternative accommodation, or return to Russell Terrace for the time being and register with Homes Direct to find another home with us or a different provider.

“While we have the utmost sympathy for Mr Marsh’s health needs, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us, as a charitable housing association, to continue paying rent to a private landlord when a suitable property that we own is available.”

John said even though the company has told them they've made changes and cleaned up the building he believes it's still uninhabitable for someone in his condition.

In addition to his previous treatment, it was recently discovered he had a lump in his neck and face. He's undergone tests for the lumps, which he's due for a results appointment early next month.

If nothing changes John will go to stay with a friend in Kenilworth instead of going back to the Russell Terrace flat.

After his cancer diagnosis John stopped his career as a builder. He has since started a food truck business called Dark Side of the Spoon.

He added: “I was in scaffolding for 18 years before I got ill. I've been building all my life, and I know what's damp and what's not.

“I can't go back in that property to die. If the dampness gets in my chest, with my immune system so low I could get really sick. I don't want to die and in a mouldy flat.”

John said he's gone to Warwick District Council for help, but was told it's up to the company that runs his flat to help him. He's also been to MP Matt Western's office for help too.

He added: “We're just trying to find some place with a nice clean environment.”