Sadly, the Race to the Grand Final in October 2012 was the last event that Stephen took part in. His health deteriorated and in April 2013, Stephen was admitted to hospital with a small bowel obstruction. Unfortunately, unlike previous obstructions, this one did not clear. Stephen was transferred to Salford Royal’s Intestinal Failure Unit where he was put on to TPN (artificial feeding).
Stephen refused to give up looking for an option. He was told that his condition was now untreatable by conventional techniques and he was advised to get his affairs in order. Using the mantra ‘what the mind believes, the body achieves’ he began searching for a solution, refusing to believe that nothing more could be done. Stephen was aware that it was the small bowel involvement which meant conventional treatment was deemed too dangerous and it was also the small bowel that was preventing him from being able to eat. He decided to research small bowel transplants on the internet and he found the Churchill Hospital in Oxford had a successful programme.
Stephen immediately raised the question, but was initially told that due to his underlying condition this procedure would not be deemed feasible for somebody with Pseudomyxoma. He didn’t give up!! It was eventually agreed that his case would be put to the transplant team in Oxford.
Stephen was aware that this path had not been explored by anybody with this condition and therefore there was no guarantee it would work. This didn’t deter him. He was single minded in his determination to lead the way with his operation.
In October 2013 Stephen underwent a modified multi visceral transplant, including his stomach, pancreas, duodenum, small intestine and full replacement of his entire abdominal wall. It was a 32 hour, pioneering, first in the world operation.
The ground-breaking surgery, gave Stephen a new set of organs and removed the tumour that was inside and outside of his body, giving him a potential cure of this condition.
Unfortunately, despite the optimism immediately after the operation, we did not get the successful outcome that everybody involved desperately hoped for.
On November 9th 2013, three weeks after surgery, Stephen passed away. The operation was a success, but complications led to multiple organ failure caused by Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
His bravery and vision has opened a new field that has since been explored offering hope and a future to other pseudomyxoma patients.
His transplant surgeon, Anil Vaidya paid tribute to Stephen in a statement following the success of the transplant for others:
“It gives me immense satisfaction to see what a transplant has meant for these patients. They have been given a second lease in life from the deadly grips of Pseudomyxoma peritonei, a disease that until now had no cure beyond a certain limit.
This has been possible only due to the unrelenting efforts made by Stephen Prescott. He carved a path where there was none. Whose will to live was so strong that it guided us to transcend the current limits of our understanding and knowledge to an imagined result of a journey in creating something new: An act that was singular in its creation but achieved a result on a cosmic scale for patients suffering from this inexorable disease.
Unfortunately, Stephen did not personally benefit from this journey, but has undoubtedly lit the path for many more to come.
The amazing transplant team at The Churchill Hospital, Oxford have, in conjunction with an equally amazing pseudomyxoma team from North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke, carried out the modified multi visceral transplant on a number of pseudomyxoma patients.
This is now seen as a viable treatment option.
We are extremely proud of the legacy Stephen has left behind!
The Gift of Life: The Importance of Organ Donation
Transplants are one of the most miraculous achievements of modern medicine. But they depend entirely on the generosity of donors and their families who are willing to make this life saving gift to others.
One donor can give life to several people and restore the sight of two more.
There is a critical shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting on the transplant list is increasing.
The need for donors has never been greater. So why not sign up to life now?
Organ Donor Line: 0300 123 23 23
Leave the gift of life today!