Brian has been so brave through his treatment and his attitude has been positive. He focused on the 5 years, and pushed through many rounds of chemo even though he did suffer some side effects. He did get some good news at the end of his chemo when he was told the cancer had shrunk and he didnt need any further chemo. The doctor wasn't able to give any indication of how long this repreive would last but it was great timing as Brian had arranged to see his family in January 2017. Brian has always been so generous and always put others first. It gave him nothing but joy to be able to bring his brother, sister, neices and nephews over from the UK to spend 3 weeks together in the aussie sun.
Unfortunately the cancer didn't stay away for long. Only a couple of months after his family returned to the UK Brian was told that the cancer had returned. This time the doctor told him that he probably only had 6-12 months to live. The doctor explained to both Brian and Sharon that there were only 3 options for them to consider. Firstly he could try chemo again but there were no guarantees that it would have the same affect as the first time. There was also added risk of futher and more damaging side effects which would have to make him stop the treatment. Secondly and most devistatingly they were told to explore palliative care options. The third option to be considered was to try the immunotherapy drug called Keytruda, which he would have inconjunction with chemotherapy. Keytruda is administered much like chemo, as an infusion intravenously. Whilst Keytruda isnt a curative drug, it has in some people extended their life expectancy and quality of life.
Brian bravely chose to try chemo again, but even after much conversation, support and in the end begging from family, friends and in particular Sharon, Brian is refusing to try Keytruda. Why you may ask......because of the cost. Unfortuantly not just for Brian, but for many sufferers of rarer types of cancer, Keytruda is not on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme). It is also not covered at all by Private Health funds or Medicare. If Keytruda was on the PBS for Brian, it would cost up to $38 per treatment. As it is not on the PBS for Mesothelioma, Brian was told that the drug would cost him $6,000 per treatment. The doctor recommended that he would need to have an infusion of the drug every 3 weeks and would need 10 treatments. This comes to a grand total, and our goal sum of $60,000.
Sharon and all of Brians close friends and family are desparate for him to try Keytruda. Sharon is willing to sell everything she owns just for the possibility of having Brian by her side for as long as possible. Anyone who knows Brian will find it no surprise that his priority and focus is to leave Sharon in the best financial position possible. Brian doesn't feel the odds are worth leaving Sharon in any financial harship if it doesnt work, but as Sharon said, "whats the point of having money when I dont have him".
Being one of Brians friends during this time I feel completely helpless. I cant make this disease go away, but what I can do is raise awareness, campaign to get Keytruda on the PBS for everyone and most importantly try and raise funds to get Brian to try Keytruda. All of Brians family and friends have had to accept that there is no cure for this cancer, but what we cant accept is Brian not trying every means possible to be in all of our lives for as long as possible and to live the rest of his life to the fullest. If Brian is going to try Keytruda, he needs to start ASAP! Brian has given so much and been so generous to so many, I just want to be able to give something back.
If you are able to take a few minutes to read the links below and sign the petition to get Keytruda on the PBS, it will go a long way to not only helping Brian, but thousands of cancer sufferers in Australia. Brian doesn't know that I have started this campaign for him, but I have done it with Sharons blessing. We want to keep this from him until we have enough money raised for him to have his first treatment. Im hoping that once he sees how much people care about him and want him to try this drug that he will start to put as much value on his own life as we do. So if you are able to donate anything, even if its $2.00 it will all go towards getting Brian on this drug and hopefully keeping him in our lives for as long as possible.
Petition to Federal Government - Keytruda on PBS for all cancers
Bernie Banton Foundation
Tanya's Story - Lets not make it too late for Brian
- Dommie Petito
- Alan Hutton
- Ange Ricci
- Narita Perrotta
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