Leaving our life in NZ for cancer care in the USA. Life extending/saving drug (Tagrisso) not funded in NZ.
Help Joey & Julie with their move back to the US, cancer care not funded in New ZealandAuckland
Joey & Julie Moon immigrated to New Zealand from the United States with their two children Courtney & Matthew in 2001 shortly after getting married. They became NZ citizens in 2006. They moved here for a slower paced kiwi lifestyle, ideal for raising a family by the sea. They were living the dream until a terrible diagnosis last year. In September 2019, Joey & Julie were on holiday in Florida when Julie started suffering from shortness of breath. She was admitted to the hospital with a plural effusion (collapsed lung) as the right lung was filled with fluid. After six days in hospital, pathology report results indicated cancer cells in the fluid that had been drained from her right lung. Julie was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer. As a non-smoker, they were shocked and a bit perplexed but soon realized that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.
Once back in New Zealand, Julie underwent several tests. A biopsy revealed a specific mutation that can be treated by using targeted therapy. Two treatments were offered. The first treatment offered was a 1st generation drug that is funded by Pharmac in NZ. The other, a 3rd generation drug Tagrisso (recommended as the best treatment), was offered but came at a large out of pocket expense of approximately $11,000 per month. This particular newer and better drug is not funded by Pharmac. After much discussion, they opted for the funded treatment which does provide some with up to many years of success. However, after seven months of treatment, a scan indicated the cancer had spread to Julie’s abdominal cavity. The treatment essentially stopped working. Another biopsy was performed and results determined that the initial 3rd generation drug recommended would be effective, again however, at the large out of pocket expense.
They are now footing the bill for their treatment as Pharmac still does not fund the drug needed. It is worth mentioning that this drug is funded in most OECD countries. Joey has had to sell their boat, car and remortgage their house and has come to the regrettable conclusion that this is simply not sustainable for the long term.
Some of Joey and Julies American Friends want to donate so we thought we would add an exchange rate example:
1 New Zealand Dollar = USD$0.67
e.g. NZD$100 = USD$67
Aroha Nui Aotearoa
Carol Chin's involvement (page creator)
Carol Chin is a colleague of Julie's husband Joseph (Joey) at Spark New Zealand.
Use of funds
Funds will be used to help Joey & Julie pay for interim insurance coverage, relocation costs & future clinical trial expenses.
Other page links
I just wanted to send out a quick update to let you that Julie is still responding very well to Tagrisso. We met our Oncology team at Emory last week. Dr. Ramilingam is an Academic Oncologist and regarded as one of the top lung cancer doctors specializing in EGFR lung cancer. He was part of the clinical trial team that helped progress Tagrisso to FDA approval. He is also involved in clinical trials that focus on resistance to Tagrisso, which almost always happens. He is the right man for the challenge. Julie has her next Scan on Dec 4th and appt on Dec 8th. I will provide a further update from there.
As much as we miss our family, friends, and home, we are absolutely certain we made the right choice and are blessed to have family here to support us.
Other stuff - Julie and I passed our driver's test yesterday and got our Georgia licenses :-) Julie did better than I did.
We have been fortunate to "house sit for free" at Perdido Key, Florida for about 4 weeks. Julie read 9 books. I have been looking for jobs and whatnot. It's been fun but I am going crazy not working.
Friends, we could not have done this without you so thank you again.
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This page was created on 23 Sep 2020 and closes on 23 Dec 2020.