We did it - $30,000 raised!Sunday 27th Mar
First week down - 46km to goSunday 6th Mar
Charlotte and Astrid are inMonday 28th Feb Charlotte and Astrid have agreed to join me for the walks - so the three of us will walk* 64kms in 27 days to raise money for Malaghan
From ColinSunday 27th Feb
A routine blood test in late 2015 delivered the devastating news that I had Multiple Myeloma (MM), an incurable blood cancer. Initially it was ‘smouldering’ (sounds sexier than it is, believe me), but things kicked off in 2018, and in 2019 I had a stem cell transplant, standard first line treatment for MM.
This gruelling regime involved months of heavy-duty chemo and a procedure to extract and replace cancerous cells with cancer free ones. Some lucky MM sufferers get long term ‘remission’ but I got a lengthy stay in hospital with double pneumonia, lung abscesses and a few scary days in Intensive Care. And almost no remission.
My haematologist had a few other treatments up his sleeve, but the MM stubbornly refused to respond. Late last year however – and this is when my luck turned – he was able to secure ‘compassionate access’ to a drug which is not funded in NZ. And so far, so good…..
We’ve learnt a lot on our cancer journeys (Paula also had cancer in 2017 – she was jealous of the attention I was getting ☺). We learned that the standard and somewhat barbaric approach of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy aka cut, poison and burn is the go to treatment for most cancers. We also learned that NZ has fewer funded cancer treatments than other comparable countries.
Some terminally ill blood cancer patients who have run out of treatments here look at going overseas. But, unless you have a spare million dollars, forget it. (see A Slight Touch of Cancer https://www.skygo.co.nz/show/mac_sh_96634 )
However, there is hope.
CAR-T cell therapy is an exciting new development in the treatment of blood cancers and potentially other solid tumour cancers. Already this treatment is showing very promising results overseas not only with effectively beating the cancer but providing long term protection years after treatment. And in addition to achieving better results, it is a kinder, gentler approach to cancer treatment.
And here is the really good news.
CAR-T is now being trialled here in Wellington at the Malaghan Institute!! They are at the early clinical trial stage, but the results are extremely promising, and they are hoping to release these in the near future.
The Malaghan Institute are a registered charity who are committed to finding gentler and better cancer treatments through their research into the immune system and to making these treatments accessible to all New Zealanders.
Paula and I were fortunate to visit the institute last year and decided to help them continue this ground-breaking work.
As a charity, the Malaghan’s research is heavily reliant on support from the community. Without it, this research will grind to a halt. The more funding, the more they can scale up their research and clinical trials, shortening the time these treatments may become available for New Zealanders.
And here’s where you come in. We need your help!
We have decided to fundraise to help support the Malaghan’s research.
Our first fundraiser is ‘March for Myeloma’. During the month of March, before my 64thbirthday on the 27TH March, I’m going to walk 64 kilometers, and the rest of the whānau are supporting me by walking or running that distance over the month. In normal pre-Covid times we’d have picked a day and done this together, but of course we have to do things differently, especially since I have the added MM gift of a compromised immune system.
I am asking everyone to show their support by sponsoring me or a family member. You can make a donation to the Malaghan Institute via this fundraising page.
Or if you like, you can join the challenge and set yourself the goal of walking or running 64km (or a distance of your choice) over March. If you are interested in joining the March for Myeloma challenge, click the ‘join now’ button at the top of this page to join the team, create your own fundraising page and share with your own networks.
All the money raised will go to the Research arm of the Institute to further research into CAR-T. Although this treatment is not currently available for MM in New Zealand and may not be for some time, the Malaghan Institute has recently begun a research project aimed at creating dual CAR T-cells that could treat both B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma. This research is in the very early stages, so CAR-T may not be available in time for me or other MM sufferers. But we need to invest in the future if these treatments are ever going to be available here. So please, your support today would be greatly appreciated! I've kickstarted the fund by donating $640 - $10 for every k!
Thank you to my Sponsors
Lucy, Elliot & Pineapple
Alyce, Steve Rice
Sarah & Nat Watson Walker
Chelsea & Hayden Mcintyre
S & D Laing
Sj, Muts, Margot & Bertie