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You too can help bowel cancer patients


You too can help bowel cancer patients

Georgina Mason, CEO Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust

“Jack was just 49 when he was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. The Christchurch father of four had already battled and won against tongue cancer but was dealt another cruel blow just three years later.

 With the help of Bowel Cancer Foundation, Jack is currently receiving immunotherapy treatment (Keytruda) which has seen his tumours shrink by half in just a few short months. Jack is proof that you are never too young to get bowel cancer.

Jack’s wife contacted me via Facebook, distraught that her husband had been given just two months to live. He had been given two options by his doctor, palliative care or try a new unfunded immunotherapy drug called Keytruda which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

 The next oncologist appointment in their area was three months away. With one phone call I had managed to secure him an appointment the next day with an oncologist sympathetic to Keytruda, and helped organise Jack to be put on a cost share programme with the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug.

 Each patient is required to fundraise about $60,000 (NZD) to pay for the first 9 rounds of injections which are administered 3 weeks apart and the pharmaceutical company then take over the payments for up to two years where it is deemed the drug should have worked sufficiently to reduce tumours and the patient remains stable or presents with no evidence of disease.

 Because Keytruda is unfunded in New Zealand, The Ministry of Health has directed that public hospitals are not to administer this drug and it can only be done so in private hospital setting. This directive adds another $27,000 on top of the $60,000 which pays for the administration, scans, oncologist fees and gst for the private hospital. 

Our charity helps fund rounds of Keytruda until the cost share programme kicks in, to help keep patients like Jack with their families for longer. Jack’s tumours have so far shrunk by 60% and some in his neck have disappeared completely. His own immune system seems to be keeping the tumours at bay and they are now stable.

Jack was originally given two months to live…that was 18 months ago!

Please help us help families like Jack this Christmas by donating to Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust.

 Your donation will not only help with treatment programmes like Jack’s but will help screen those like 74 year old Pam.

Our charity had sent Pam a free bowel screening kit which came back positive to blood in the stool and required a follow up investigation.

Pam’s mum previously died of rectal cancer, Pam’s partner passed away of bowel cancer a few years earlier and Pam herself had already had pre-cancerous polyps removed.  

Pam was still within the Governments age range to take part in the National Free Bowel Screening Programme, but did not qualify as her DHB has yet to roll out the programme in her area.  Charity donations paid for Pam to have a private colonoscopy a week later.

Read Pam’s story here


 Your donation will also help patients like Charlotte receive cancer rehabilitation after gruelling cancer treatment with our charity partner Pinc & Steel. Cancer rehabilitation is not offered by DHBs but rehab programmes have been proven by 25 Cancer Organisations in Australia to reduce cancer re-occurrence by up to 48% and the development of secondary illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Watch how your donations will help patients like Charlotte recover here  



 You too can help us make a difference this Christmas. Any donation amount makes a huge difference.

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