Three campaigning women, dubbed The Velcade Three after their fight for access to a life-prolonging drug gained national publicity, have donated £25,000 to charities close to their hearts.

Jacky Pickles, of Keighley, Janice Wrigglesworth, of Cowling, and Marie Morton, of Keighley, all suffer from multiple myeloma, an incurable and debilitating cancer of the plasma cells which are found in the bone marrow and are responsible for protecting the body against viruses and infection.

When the friends realised drugs rationing body NICE was to deny the drug Velcade to the myeloma community, they were devastated, as the drug was the first to be developed in over a decade and had proved successful in clinical trials in the UK, and was in use in America.

Despite their illness they battled to raise awareness of the condition and helped patients get the care and treatment they deserve.

As a result, they raised £25,000, which they yesterday handed over to charities, including £18,000 to Myeloma UK, £5,000 to the Haematology and Oncology Day Unit at Airedale General Hospital and £2,000 to Sue Ryder Care Hospice Manorlands.

Eric Low, chief executive of Myeloma UK said: “Congratulations to The Velcade Three for their amazing efforts over the last few years and a big thank you to them for kindly donating £18,000 to Myeloma UK.”

In a statement The Velcade Three said: “On hearing NICE were refusing to fund the treatment we decided we had no option but to go down the legal route and so began our campaign to enable us to, if necessary, take legal action to help all myeloma sufferers access Velcade. “Along with Myeloma UK, and other charities, we feel we have been successful in having Velcade put into the medical field for multiple myeloma patients.

“We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped us in our campaign to enable the drug Velcade to be made available to all multiple myeloma patients who need it.

“We believe it’s no longer necessary for us to continue with this campaign because we achieved what we had set out to do, and we’re delighted our work is also going to mean three worthwhile organisations will benefit from the money we have raised.”