Emily

2022 recipient of funding

Emily is a clinical psychologist with the Waikato District Health Board where she works with children as her specialty. Emily received a diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer 18 months ago and undertook months of treatment that has sadly proven to be unsuccessful. Now diagnosed with advanced triple negative breast cancer Emily’s best treatment option is a combination of drugs known as Atezolizumab and NAB Paclitaxel over the next year, both of which are unfunded. The cost of treatment is $107.000.00 which for a one income family with a 4 year old daughter is both a devastating diagnosis and treatment option. Thanks to all of our supporters and their donations, we are well on the way to helping Emily and her family through this huge financial burden.

Lynne

2022 recipient of funding

In October 2020 my world fell apart when I was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer. It had spread to my lymph nodes and liver.

I’ve been on an intense treatment journey for a year now undergoing fortnightly chemo treatments. Originally, I endured eight rounds of chemo with the hope it would shrink my tumours to get surgery approval. The treatment was successful which allowed liver resection to proceed. However, unfortunately the combination of being sick and bronchitis for weeks requiring hospitalisation, and the cyber attack at Waikato Hospital, meant chemo and surgery were delayed. This sadly resulted in rapid growth of my tumours, and I was given the devastating news that surgery was no longer an option. I have since had another 9 rounds of chemo which were preventing the tumours from growing, but unfortunately on my last scan it showed one of my liver tumours had grown.

On discussion with my oncologist, and getting genetic testing done, a non-funded drug called Cetuximab would be the best treatment option. After the tumour growth I was advised to start Cetuximab with haste, which would give me the best chance at being with my family for as long as possible.

The cost of the treatment is over $46,000 plus travel costs to Tauranga and fortnightly Oncologist consult fees.

I am a single mother and have been unable to work for the past 4.5 years. I have been caring for my son who came into my care as a medically fragile foster baby, he still has ongoing medical needs, and it is impossible for me to raise these funds alone. My son and four grown children mean the world to me, and I have also had my first precious grandchild born in October. I want to be here with them for as long as I can. I will continue to fight this.

I have spent my whole life helping others, including being a foster parent for 25 years. It is hard for me to now ask and receive help, but my family means the world to me, so I have a lot to live for. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from Errol, Alice and the Livingstone Golf Charity who have funded my first two treatments it means the world to me and my family.

Shianne

2021/22 recipient of funding

Shianne Allan – Diagnosed with brain cancer (Glioblastoma).

In 2015/16 Shianne was travelling through Croatia where she suffered the first of many seizures and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors ran tests and scans and quickly found the cause behind the seizure, a brain tumour.

Shianne flew back to London and spent 6 weeks in hospital, where they removed most of the tumour but unfortunately told it would likely grow back and would need radiation therapy sometime in the future.

Shianne is now back in NZ with her partner Michael and their 10 month old son.

In September 2020 a routine MRI unfortunately showed some sinister changes. Shianne had emergency surgery the following week, where they found tumour growth and again removed as much tumour as they could. In Nov 2020  she was given a devastating diagnosis, a Grade III Glioblastoma and doctors needed to start treating it aggressively with radiation and chemotherapy starting on the  25th of November 2020.

Unfortunately, the chemotherapy that Shianne was placed on caused her liver to fail and her platelet count to fall dangerously low. These side effects meant that Shianne was unable to continue with treatment. Being on such a low dose of chemo meant that her body would be unable to tolerate further treatment ruling out future options.

So Shianne and her family put all her hopes into radiation but after an MRI in February 2021 this unfortunately showed that not only has radiation been unsuccessful but there is new growth of her tumour.

Since her treatment has failed her oncologist has suggested the one remaining option, Avastin, which unfortunately isn’t funded and requires treatment at a private clinic (Braemar).

Avastin is not a chemotherapy it is a biologic therapy and will help to control the tumour growth. It does this by blocking angiogenesis which is the process of making new blood vessels. This means Avastin will help by starving the tumour of the blood supply it needs to grow meaning the tumour will stop growing.

Although Avastin will not be a cure for Shianne it will buy her desperately needed time with her family. It will give her extra time to spend with her small family Michael and Wolfgang. She will be able to watch Wolfgang develop into the clever little boy he is.

Avastin has a cost share program which means once Shianne has reached a cap of 6 cycles, the drug company Roche will provide the rest of the medication at no cost, only requiring $1,100.00 every 2 weeks for the treatment to be administered.

Lauren

2021 recipient of funding

20-year-old Lauren Russo was diagnosed with Stage 3B Melanoma cancer in late 2020.

About 2 years ago, Lauren noticed a mole on her calf that was irritating her. She visited both GPs and skin clinics over the 2 years to get it checked however due to her age and fitness they conducted manual checks only (no biopsy).

Late last year after continued irritation from the mole which had now grown in size and was at times bleeding, Lauren visited a family friend, who was a skin doctor, for another opinion. The family friend recommended removal of the mole and after testing the mole post procedure, it was discovered that Lauren had Melanoma.

Since then, Lauren has endured additional surgery, which found the cancer to have spread to her lymph nodes and is now at a crossroads with the next stages of her treatment. In NZ the treatment her specialists advise is the best option to provide Lauren with the greatest chance of survival and a significant reduction in the risk of recurrence, is not covered by the public health system for Lauren’s stage of cancer. It only becomes funded at Stage 4, at the bottom of the cliff.

Immunotherapy treatment which involves 17 rounds of infusions of a drug called Keytruda, that is especially effective for melanoma. Keytruda works with the immune system to help find and destroy cancer cells. The treatment is over the period of 12 months and is done 3 weekly, with various doctor reviews and scans along the way. This treatment costs over $110,000NZD per year.

The Charity Golf Day, on behalf of all of our generous supporters have contributed $10,500.00 towards Laurens recent treatment.

Tiana

2020 recipient of funding

“You’ve got Cancer!” If that wasn’t bad enough, less than a week later we found out that the cancer was in her bowel, liver and lung. We packed up her life in Wellington and brought her home to the Waikato and within in 2 weeks she started Chemo.

To date Tiana has had 6 surgery’s, a week of radiation and 2 years of chemo (only stopping for surgery).

Surgery to remove a tumour in Tiana’s lung was followed by further chemo, CT scan and unfortunately further tumours were found to be growing. This called for a change in chemo in the hopes this would arrest the spread of the disease but this was not successful.

Sadly, in Feb 2020 Tiana got the news that Chemo wasn’t working and the only remaining option was an unfunded treatment named Cetuximab at a cost of $3,800 per week ($2,600.00 for the drug plus $1,200.00 to administer it privately at Braemar Hospital in Hamilton).

Sam

2020 recipient of funding

In July 2020, Sam Caldwell (aged 37) was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer having previously shown no noticeable symptom’s we were shocked to hear that his cancer had mutated to his spine, breastplate and liver. Up to this point, Sam had been living a relatively simple life of work, a love of stockcars and spending time with friends and family.

While Sam’s cancer is incurable, the good news is that we can treat and contain it giving us the extra time we want and need to laugh together, build memories together, and for his nieces and nephews to have more time to spend with their beloved Uncle. Unfortunately, the treatment that Sam needs to buy him this precious time is not funded and the cost of this treatment (Osimertinib) is $11,000 every two months for the first 19 months.

Sam has a determined and positive attitude. We want him to maintain this positive attitude and fight this all the way.

Shelley

2020 recipient of funding

My name is Shelley Cross, I have been married to Shawn for 22 years, and we have a 19 year old daughter, Brooklyn, who is a full time student at Auckland University. I live in Hamilton (my hometown), with Shawn and my gorgeous rescue dog Leah!

In February 2016 I was feeling a bit tired but thought nothing of it, until I discovered I had aggressive, Stage 3 cancer that had already metastasized to my lymph nodes. I knew that my time was going to be limited, and that it was now about buying more time to spend with my family, as at the end of the day, that is all that really matters. I immediately started on 18 rounds of intense chemotherapy followed by 20 rounds of radiation. It was an extremely aggressive cancer and was treated aggressively, which was fine by me, I would have done anything, and put up with anything for a positive outcome.

Unfortunately, by October 2019 the cancer had returned, and this time was in my lungs, my liver, clavicles, my sternum, and the bones in my ribs, and my spine. Shawn had to give up work and became a full-time carer for me.

I started chemotherapy again but unfortunately the side effects were so severe I ended up spending two weeks in Waikato Hospital over Christmas.  The oncologists advised no more chemo, as it was making me so sick and provided no quality of life for me, so in April this year I started Ibrance (a pill), which luckily had just become funded. But after a few weeks on Ibrance, a scan showed a new tumour on my lung, so this was also not working.

I then had a test to find out which genomic alterations were driving my cancer. This allows treatment to be targeted more accurately. The result was that the best possible option to extend my life was a drug called Everolimus.

Unfortunately, Everolimus is not funded in New Zealand and costs $7,800 per month. We have been living off our savings and our super for some time, and of course this is not sustainable, which really adds to the stresses of cancer.

Every moment I have with my husband and daughter is precious, and so receiving any type of assistance is so very much appreciated, as it takes the financial pressure off and allows us to “make more memories” with the time we all have left together.

Nicki

2020/21 recipient of funding

My name is Nicki and I am 47 years old.  I was born in Cambridge and have lived here for most of my life.  I’m married to Alan, an Englishman and we have two sons – Jason and Alex, both 28.  We have four grandchildren – Ella, Kierly, Sophia and wee Jaxson.

In February 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and began 14 rounds of chemotherapy with minimal response.  I underwent multiple diagnostic procedures – MRIs, CT and biopsies which indicated I had abnormalities elsewhere – lung, bone, ovaries.  Following chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, another bombshell arrived in late November 2019 – they had found tumours in my liver.

I began a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy in early December 2019. The immunotherapy – TECENTRIQ is not funded and costs $6,350.00 every three weeks.  So far I have had eleven treatments and this will continue indefinitely while I continue to respond well to it.

We have had to make some difficult financial decisions and I worry constantly about the future and what this financial toll means for both my husband and our family.  But here I am 12 months later and whilst I still have cancer the treatment seems to have been effective at halting its progression. Long may it continue! The treatment side effects are manageable and I am still working and loving my life. It’s difficult to put a price on that except to say that for my husband and me it is invaluable. To have people like Errol and Alice come forward and say “we can help” is genuinely life changing for me and I can’t begin to say how grateful I am for the offer of financial assistance.  The decision on whether or not to seek lifesaving / extending treatment should not be a financial one, but at the moment for people like me it is. Thank you so much from my family and I.

Janette

2019/20 recipient of funding

Janette is a school teacher, living in Hamilton with her husband and daughter (22) while her son (23) is at university in Auckland. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in 2018 and has undergone a typically wide reaching series of treatments in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.

In 2019 it became apparent that the traditional and funded treatment options had been exhausted and the recommendation was to try an unfunded drug known as Palbociclib (Ibrance) at a cost of approximately $6,000 per month. We were fortunate to be in a position to help Janette and her family with the funding of this treatment and supported her from may 2019 – February 2020 when the drug became funded in New Zealand. Janette continues to do well under this treatment and is loving and living life to the fullest.

Tristyn

2018 recipient of funding

It’s hard to write a piece of text where words cannot possibly describe the gratitude I feel. I hope when you read this you will understand the depth of gratitude I feel to those that supported me in 2018.

Without a doubt, the Livingstone Charity Golf Day saved my life by helping to fund Metastatic Breast Cancer drugs that are not funded by the New Zealand health system.

The diagnosis I was given 18 months ago held little chance of survival past a two year period. Other medications had not worked to stop the spread of disease and I was down to my last option for survival.

Living with a death sentence is hard for many to imagine, there was little hope of keeping the disease at bay and no hope of a cure. Thankfully I was presented with one last option – unfunded drugs Palbociclib and Fulvestrant at a cost of approximately $7200.00 per month. If they worked I would need them for the rest of my life and hopefully one day they would be approved for government funding.

My friends, family and our community have fought hard to save my life by helping fund these drugs. Within two weeks we had our first three treatments funded and from there the Livingstone Golf Charity took care of the next 4 months of treatment and magically it continues to work.

I now have the joy of seeing my daughters graduate from school, my grandson being born and now taking his first steps, while I also continue my work at the Waikato District Health Board – Addictions Service.

The Livingstone Golf Charity Day has quite literally helped saved my life and to those of you that have supported it, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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