Your support will mean the world to Brendon, Luisa and their kids, Christian and Cruz.
In 2015, Brendon was diagnosed with mixed liposarcoma in his leg, a very rare cancer. He went through successful treatment and was almost at the six-year all-clear. Almost.
Then, earlier this year, Brendon was told his cancer had come back in six places throughout his body.
Without better treatments there is a real risk that this Christmas may be Brendon’s last one with his family. We urgently need to raise $410,000 by December 25, so researchers like Dr Paul Beavis and his team can give people with cancer, like Brendon, a better chance of survival.
Will you please donate today so fewer people have to worry that this Christmas will be their last?
Brendon was on his way to celebrating his youngest son’s 10th birthday on the day he found out his cancer had returned.
Brendon remembers, “We had planned to spend a day with him and take him to go-carting. And I said, ‘Okay, we’ll go see the doctor first all together and then we’ll go go-karting.’ And I’ll never forget, my doctor walked in and said, ‘Oh, I think the boys should wait outside. I don’t think they need to hear this.’ And I knew straight away it was pretty full on.”
The news was shocking. Brendon was told his cancer had not just returned, but was in his spine, kidney, liver, chest wall, pelvis and rib bones.
He wants to be with his sons and his wife this Christmas – and enjoy that special time rather than worrying about how much time they have left. And Brendon is far from alone.
All Brendon wants is to spend many more Christmases with his wife, Luisa, and their two sons, Christian and Cruz.
We lose 50,000 Australians each year to cancer. This means that sadly, for 50,000 Australians with cancer, this Christmas will be their last – unless we can find new ways to save them.
Brendon has been undergoing radiation to shrink his tumour, and so far, it’s been working. But, if it stops working at any point, there are no more options for him.
That’s why research such as Dr Beavis’ is so important. The hope of a treatment for Brendon is the hope that this Christmas will not be his last.
Dr Beavis works with immunotherapies, which help to fight cancer by using the body’s own defence system.
In treating certain blood cancers, immunotherapies have proven to be up to 90% effective. It’s an incredible result, and one Dr Beavis hopes to deliver for many more cancers.
Dr Beavis says “My lab works on a type of immunotherapy that involves genetically supercharging the patient’s own immune cells. Through this process, we can get these cells to target specific proteins on the cancer cell. This type of therapy has been very successful in certain blood cancers, but less effective in solid cancers.”
Dr Beavis hopes to make immunotherapy effective across many cancer types.
Unfortunately though, the solid tumours found in many common cancers, such as breast cancer, melanoma and sarcoma, have proven harder to target with immunotherapy, because as Dr Beavis explains, “There’s no real one protein target that you can target in the same way.”
That’s why Dr Beavis and his team are testing the use of immunotherapy in a new way. Instead of targeting protein, they are trying to supercharge the response of the immune cells that exist in cancer tumours.
“We believe strongly in our lab that we need to engage the person’s immune response, and by that, I mean the immune cells that are already inside the tumour.”
If they are successful, this breakthrough technique has the potential to significantly improve how many solid cancers are treated, giving greater hope to Brendon and the thousands of Australians diagnosed with solid cancers each year.
Brendon and his family are painfully aware that this Christmas could be there last – as are 50,000 other Australian families. And that’s why your support is so incredibly important – so researchers like Dr Beavis can continue working towards lifesaving discoveries.
Will you please donate this Christmas, so researchers like Dr Paul Beavis and his team can help people like Brendon enjoy many more Christmases with their families?
If you or someone you know are impacted by cancer, we are here for you. Please contact our experienced and compassionate cancer nurses on 13 11 20 or online.