I didn’t know what hope looked like until I encountered it at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
Inoperable. Incurable. Terminal.
Those three words changed George Reed’s life forever.
George and his wife Connie had plans for retirement. They would travel the world and visit their daughter in London. George would try and perfect his golf swing, and relax after forty-five years of working as a correctional officer.
He’d had some minor bladder issues for a while, which he’d put down to simply getting old. But after an evening of excruciating pain, he went to see his doctor. A few weeks later he was told that he had prostate cancer and would probably be dead within eighteen months.
His world imploded.
"I thought I would have more time. That it would never happen to me. Until one day it did. I couldn’t plan to visit my daughter in London in five years. I didn’t have five years."
Your donation today will support research at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse that gives hope to people like George who are living with cancer.
When he was shown the scans from his first urologist, there was no explanation. The black spots and blotches scattered across his skeletal form looked like a cancerous black blanket laid across him. George was petrified.
It wasn’t until a few months later that George sought a second opinion with Professor Lisa Horvath at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. At his first appointment, one by one, Professor Horvath pointed out the dark blotches, empty spaces that no one had given a second thought to before. “That’s not cancer,” she said. “That’s not. That’s not.” Some of the largest darkest patches were merely dye pooled in a gland. Abruptly, she turned to face George and said, “You’re only early stage four. I think I can give you some more time.”
Those words meant everything to Connie and George. They meant hope.
Soon after that George was placed on a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel.
"I started chemotherapy with a drug called docetaxel and the side effects weren’t pretty. The nausea, anxiety and discomfort that comes with the treatment hit me hard. The pain was immeasurable. I’m just relieved it had some effect on the tumour."
A current treatment for prostate cancer patients, some patients respond well to docetaxel, while others have their cancer left unaffected despite the significant side effects that the drug causes. For these patients, worse than having no effect, this also delays the start of other therapies that could stunt the growth of the cancer and prolong life.
You can help Professor Horvath discover more effective treatments.
Alongside her colleagues, she is coming up with a personalised blood test that can detect the effect this specific chemotherapy drug (docetaxel) will have on a person and their cancer. Professor Horvath is working on this personalised treatment. But she needs your help.
You can change the face of prostate cancer. By donating today, you can enable doctors like Professor Horvath to do the research needed for more effective and personalised treatments.