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Long Life For Lauren

Cause page created in the Health category by Carla McBeth for "Vanessa and Kevin's daughter Lauren Russo"

$62,606 donated
Given by 383 generous donors in 4 weeks

20 year old Lauren has been diagnosed with Stage 3B Melanoma and needs assistance to pay for her treatment

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  Bay of Plenty

This is my kind, caring, thoughtful, humble and beautiful, 20-year-old niece Lauren, in 2020 (one of the most difficult years for all of us) just one month after her beloved grandmother passed away and while still grieving, Lauren was diagnosed with Stage 3B Melanoma cancer.

Up until the diagnosis, Lauren was a happy healthy 20-year-old with an enormous love for animals, particularly horses. About 2 years ago, Lauren noticed a mole on her calf that was irritating her. She visited both GPs and skin clinics over the 2 years to get it checked however due to her age and fitness they conducted manual checks only (no biopsy).

In late 2020 after continued irritation about the mole which had now grown in size and was at times bleeding, Lauren visited a family friend, who was a skin doctor, for another opinion. The family friend recommended removal of the mole and after testing the mole post procedure, it was discovered that Lauren had Melanoma.

Since then, Lauren has endured additional surgery, which found the cancer to have spread to her lymph nodes and is now at a crossroads with the next stages of her treatment. In NZ the treatment her specialists advise is the best option to provide Lauren with the greatest chance of survival and a significant reduction in the risk of recurrence, is not covered by the public health system for Lauren’s stage of cancer. It only becomes funded at Stage 4, at the bottom of the cliff, and even then Pharmac are sporadic with their funding. Common places for the cancer to spread to in Stage 4 after spreading beyond the lymph nodes, is the lungs, kidneys, bone and brain.

In NZ we have the highest melanoma incidence rate in the world and in recent years more people have died from melanoma than on the roads. Yet a lack of funding and recognition, means there is a gap in the NZ health system which could literally mean life or death for Lauren. In order to give Lauren the best chance of survival, she needs to undergo Immunotherapy treatment. It involves 17 rounds of infusions of a drug called Keytruda, that is especially effective for melanoma. Keytruda works with the immune system to help find and destroy cancer cells. The treatment is over the period of 12 months and is done 3 weekly, with various doctor reviews and scans along the way. This treatment costs over $110,000NZD per year and that is just for the medication (this amount does not cover all of the additional medical costs that come along with the treatment). For a family of 6, this enormous financial burden is putting a high amount of stress on Lauren’s parents and extended family and for this reason we are reaching out to the amazing Give a Little community for help.

Being the humble, considerate person she is, Lauren has been hesitant with reaching out for financial help, which is why we have decided to take the step to reach out for her.

In addition to your amazing financial support, one of the other key reasons we started this fundraiser is to provide awareness to the NZ public on the gaps in the NZ public health care system related to melanoma cancer treatment. Until Lauren started on this journey, we were all under the impression that all non-trial cancer treatment was covered by the NZ health system (as it is in Australia and the UK) however this has proven to not be the case. In addition to fighting the battle of her life, Lauren and our family will also be petitioning the Government to close this gap and save more New Zealand cancer patient lives. Any support you can provide Lauren as she embarks on this long hard road would be hugely appreciated – Spread the word!

Thank you so much for reading this and any contribution you have been able to provide is hugely appreciated by Lauren and her entire family.

Carla McBeth's involvement (page creator)

I am Lauren's Aunty and really want to help in everyway I can to make sure she gets the treatment she needs

Use of funds

The funds will contribute to the high cost treatment Lauren requires

Latest update

Message from Lauren  8 April 2021

Posted by: Carla McBeth

WOW! I’m so totally overwhelmed with with the generosity and kindness of people. I honestly never imagined that so many people would care and donate so much!

I am so so so grateful to everyone- the people who have commented, messaged, donated, shared. You have all made a huge difference! All the donations are amazing and I never had any expectation of people to donate but to all those who have (big and small!) and those anonymous donors you are incredible.

I seriously wish I could personally thank every single one of you. Even though I can’t see you all, each and every person who has supported myself and my family are just so so amazing. If I can ever repay people or return the favour please let me know, I would do anything for all of you. Thank you so much 🥰❤️

I will keep you all up to date with how my treatments are going- my second is on the 19th April.. currently one down, 16 to go!

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Latest donations

Shelley and David
Shelley and David 19 hours ago
Wishing you all the best as you face this challenge head on
Margaret 1 day ago
Kevin and Vanessa Russo

Hi Margaret, thank you so much for your donation! 🥰

Kevin and Vanessa Russo
Ben 2 days ago
Kevin and Vanessa Russo

Thank you so much for your kind donation! ☺️

Kevin and Vanessa Russo
Kieran 2 days ago
Missed the fundraising day at school so put this in instead.
Kevin and Vanessa Russo

Thank you very much Kieran! That’s amazing, so appreciated! ☺️

Kevin and Vanessa Russo
Guest Donor
Guest Donor 3 days ago
All the best Lauren
Kevin and Vanessa Russo

Thank you so much for your very generous donation, I’m very grateful ❤️

Kevin and Vanessa Russo

Who's involved?

Carla McBeth's avatar
Created by Carla McBeth
Kevin and Vanessa Russo's avatar
Paying to a verified bank account of Kevin and Vanessa Russo on behalf of Vanessa and Kevin's daughter Lauren Russo

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This page was created on 5 Apr 2021 and closes on 30 Mar 2022.
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