Farah Fawcett Seeks Cancer Answer


by NEWTONSTEIN at MINISTERS-BEST-FRIEND.com

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Do Angels Pray?

Pale and hunched over in a wheelchair, her face hidden by dark glasses and a red woolly hat, she was unrecognizable as the pin-up girl who shot to stardom in Seventies TV series Charlie's Angels.

Despite putting on a brave face, Farrah Fawcett looked tense and sober as she was wheeled out of the airport after returning home to Los Angeles.

Having battled intestinal cancer for three years, Fawcett has spent the past month in Germany, where she has been having experimental stem-cell treatment to beat the illness she has dubbed her 'terrorist'. Some fear it may be her last throw of the dice.

She has been staying in the Leonardis Clinic in Bad Heilbrunn, in the shadow of the Bavarian Alps. American politician Edward Kennedy, who has a brain tumour, has also stayed there.

Farrah sought the treatment in Germany with the help of her friend, Cher, and she has also been to other nearby centres.

In the University Clinic of Frankfurt, she has been treated by Professor Thomas Vogl, 50, who is one of the world's leading cancer experts. He treated her with a catheter filled with chemotherapy drugs.

Another of her specialists is Dr Ursula Jacob, of the Alpenpark Clinic in Bad Wiessee, 40 miles from the Leonardis. Dr Jacob uses vitamin preparations that she says boost the immune system.

A third specialist is Dr Norbert Pfuetzenreuter, of Mednord centre in Munich. One of Germany's best-known specialists, his approach is mainstream.

In an extraordinary and brave endeavour to help other cancer sufferers, Fawcett - who was once the most famous woman in America and caused uproar when she posed nude for Playboy - is making a programme about her illness with her friend Craig Nevius.

'As much as I would have liked to keep my cancer private, I have a responsibility to those fighting their own fights who may benefit from learning about mine,' Fawcett said.

Farrah's documentary, called 'A Wing And A Prayer', is likely to be her last appearance on camera, despite upbeat comments from those close to her. 'Farrah is not 100 per cent well, but she's doing pretty well,' said Nevius.

He added: 'We cannot say she is cancer-free because there is no such thing. Once you have cancer you will always have it somewhere.'

But many experts have doubts about the German treatments. American health care providers consider most of them too ' experimental' to underwrite their cost.

Just 4,650 Americans are diagnosed with Farrah's form of intestinal cancer every year and 700 die. Yet if caught early, the five-year survival rate is 80-per cent.

When diagnosed in October 2006, Farrah was treated with aggressive chemotherapy, surgery and radiation at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Centre. Farrah seemed to be doing well and on her 60th birthday - after five months of treatment - she announced she was cancer-free.

But three months later, a routine check-up revealed a malignant polyp.

Within 48 hours, before she had told her son and close friends the news, it appeared in an American magazine. Farrah took legal action and hospital administrator Lawanda Jackson, 49, is facing ten years in jail after admitting stealing her medical records.

Farrah's film began as a video diary, but after selling it to America's NBC network for a rumoured 3-million, she is adding interviews with her German doctors.

How far this all seems from the days when a young girl born Ferrah Leni Fawcett in Corpus Christi, Texas, was noticed for her striking looks and pin-up body and started modeling.

Her Lebanese father, an oilman, had named her after the Arabic for joy. But she asked her parents to change her name to Farrah and they agreed.

She was making Wella shampoo adverts when she received the script for a new series called Charlie's Angels. The first episode was aired in September 1976. Around this time, her now legendary swimsuit poster was released. It sold a still-unbeaten 12 million copies and she became known worldwide for her tousled mane, beautiful smile and knockout figure.

Her hairstyle was copied by women everywhere and sporting a 'Farrah' became the last word in salons from Alaska to Australia.

She left the hit series after one year, but achieved critical praise, and received the first of three Emmy Award nominations as a serious actress for her role as a battered wife in the 1984 TV movie The Burning Bed.

Then, she posed nude in the December 1995 issue of Playboy. It became the best-selling issue of the Nineties; four million copies were sold.

Yet it was her marriage to Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors, and her later relationship with Ryan O'Neal, that kept her in the headlines.

Majors never liked Farrah's success. When it eclipsed his, he was furious. Their marriage was peppered with rows and he even demanded that she leave the set of Charlie's Angels at an exact time each day so she could have his dinner ready by 6.30pm.

The marriage ended, and she took up with the combative actor Ryan O'Neal - with whom she had a son, Redmond. They split in 1997, after 17 years, but remain close.

Her life, however, became more turbulent. In 1997, on the David Letterman talk show, Fawcett appeared to be drunk or high.

Later that year, she had a fight with her then-boyfriend, director James Orr. He was convicted for battery.

And on top of her cancer battle, she has had to deal with O'Neal and their 24-year-old son Redmond becoming embroiled in drug-related incidents.

Redmond has fought a long battle with heroin addiction and has several convictions for drug possession.

Then, in September last year, Ryan pleaded guilty to possession after police found methamphetamine in his Malibu beach house. Ryan, 67, was ordered to take part in a drug rehabilitation programme.

But then a warrant was issued when Redmond failed to turn up in court on drugs charges last month.

Nevius explains that Farrah is very supportive of O'Neal, 'although frankly, she should not be looking out for anyone but herself right now'.

The Leonardis clinic claims to have one of the highest success rates in Germany. On admission, Farrah's blood was analysed as part of a 'special chemo sensitivity test'. 'This involves using DNA to detect your sensitivity not only to chemos, but also to various herbal and nutritional therapies,' a clinic source said.

According to sources, Farrah was given liquid shark cartilage to stop angiogenisis (the process by which tumours develop their own blood supply), injections of the mineral selenium, injections of vitamin D and calcium and an amino acid mix to protect her liver from chemotherapy.

A clinic source said: 'She has been having conventional and alternative treatments, and she remains positive, which is the main thing.

'But it is a serious cancer and an aggressive one. She will have to come to terms with the reality of her situation sooner or later.'

Those close to Farrah insist that suggestions of her impending death are untrue. But as the latest pictures reveal the scale of her illness, the rest of us can only hope they are right.

We have to ask:

Do angels pray? It seems this one needs to!




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