Immunotherapy Treatment


Hi there!

My name is Kat Johnson and on May 10 this year exactly 1 month and 1 day before my 30th birthday I was diagnosed with stage 4 liver and bowel cancer. My doctors found 7 tumours within my bowels and lower intestines which were unfortunately inoperable and the cancer had metastasised to my liver. 

I can’t begin to explain what a shock this was for me, my family, and all my friends. Nobody imagines being told that before they have reached 30 years of age they have less than 2 years to live. This is the sort of stuff that happens in fictional movies, not in real life.

However it is what it is and I am determined to fight not just for myself, but for everyone I love.

Unfortunately the likelihood of response to chemotherapy is slim, with doctors saying I have a 40% chance of success. Fortunately the only other option available to me is immunotherapy.  This treatment involves an intravenous dose of a drug call Nivolumab administered fortnightly.  This drug essentially works by super charging my immune system to fight the cancer cells in my body. 

That’s the good news, the bad news is that is it currently not funded under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) for my particular cancer. Whilst it is funded for melanoma, kidney and lung cancer, it is only undergoing clinical trials for bowel cancer. The pharmaceutical company, Bristol Myers believe within 12-18 months they will be closer to having it funded under the PBS for bowel cancer but until that time I have to pay $2,325.98 per fortnight for treatment.  

Being that this is my only option to survive and to beat this cancer, I am trying to raise money to pay for 12 months treatment. I hope that after this time I will be able to get the medication through the PBS or even better, not need it anymore because I have won the battle and am cancer free! 

So far I have had 8 treatments and have amazed my oncologist with my progress. Even though it’s still a long road ahead we are convinced that with ongoing treatment and by remaining positive about my situation I will kick cancer’s butt to the curb! Each week, after treatment I feel a bit better and am enjoying life again. 

There is so much I have left to do. I want to keep progressing in my career which I have worked so hard for, I want to finish my degree, I want to travel the world, I want to fall in love and get married and I really want to be around to see my footy team win a grand final! Without the generosity and support from others, I just won’t be able to do these things.  

I really appreciate the time you have taken to read my story and am ever so grateful for any support you can give. No matter how small, your donation will help me get one more step closer to being cancer free. 

I also want to shout out to my amazing friends and family who have rallied behind me for the last 4 long and hard months. You have lifted me up when I have been in the depths of despair and reminded me why I keep fighting.  Also to my amazing boss and colleagues at work – thank you for being so supportive and understanding throughout my journey.

I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing, loving, caring people and promise to never give up the fight!

Lots of Love 
Kitty Kat : )

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Kat Johnson 
Blair Athol SA
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