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Need help whacking down metastatic colon cancer

Cause page created in the Health category by Melissa Inouye

$112,624 of $95,000 goal

Given by 506 generous donors in 15 days

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I need to raise funds to pay for treatment for metastatic colon cancer.

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A few weeks ago I learned that my cancer has recurred as "stage IV metastatic cancer." A recent scan showed cancer in the ovary, peritoneum, and small intestine. This comes with good news and bad news. The good news is that overall I feel quite positive and at peace. The bad news is that the New Zealand healthcare system does not fund many of the cancer drugs included in the international standard of care for metastatic cancer. These must be self-funded, to the tune of several tens of thousands of dollars. I feel positive, and peaceful, but poor.

My treatment plan includes FOLFIRI + Avastin (bevacuzimab) first, and then FOLFIRI + cetuximab. Unfortunately the New Zealand public health system does not cover bevacuzimab and cetuximab. I am therefore going to have to self-fund these two drugs. The costs are very steep. They are $40,739 NZD for 12 cycles of bevacuzimab (6 months) and $44,989 NZD for 12 cycles of cetuximab (6 months). Altogether this would be $85,728 NZD ($57,626 USD with current exchange rates). Apparently the drug companies offer a "deal" whereby after cancer patients pay high prices for the first several treatments, the subsequent treatments are "free" ("forever," for bevacuzimab, though apparently it tends to stop working after a period of time, or for the remainder of a 12-month period for cetuximab).

I have hated fundraising ever since I had to go door-to-door selling Christmas wrapping paper and magazine subscriptions in primary school. Nevertheless, Joseph and I do not have the financial reserves to meet these medical expenses, and I need to ask for help. I very much want to stick around as long as possible to be my kids' mother. I am determined to beat the odds. I recently joined a new Facebook group called “Colontown” (ha ha), and have been buoyed up by community members’ reports of overcoming their stage IV disease. I am committed to seeking the best medical care possible.

Because my medical situation is fluid, it is possible that I might use funds raised not only for these two drugs, but also for other medical expenses, to seek treatments overseas that are not available in New Zealand (such as new clinical trials, etc.), and to help meet my family’s expenses during this time.”

Any amount of donation would be so appreciated. I love how, through the power of people acting together, a little becomes a lot. Thank you.

Use of funds

Money will be spent on drugs that the NZ public system doesn't fund, other medical expenses including possibly seeking treatments overseas, and meeting the family's expenses during this time.

Latest update

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Holy smokes, this is amazing  13 July 2019

Dear friends and family: I am completely astounded that after four days we have already reached the fundraising goal. I don't know what to say except to say that I am profoundly grateful.

Usually one doesn't publicly share details about one's intestines, but I feel like I owe you all a personal sort of update. On Thursday I met with the oncologist. He gave me the results of a new CT-PET scan and said that my small intestine looks okay! So this is great! The tumour is not so great -- a big nasty mass kind of connecting part of the peritoneum and the left ovary.

I watched the images of the scan with fascination. I saw a skeleton, lungs, kidneys, and a brightly lit mass on the left side of the pelvis. The scan images had an "animation" feature that rotated the body around. I was very angry to see the tumour, just hanging out there. I growled at it like a samurai. At least, this is how I think samurai growl.

Your kind gestures and words of support have lifted me up. A life-threatening illness is a heavy thing but I now have your words of encouragement ringing in my head when I feel tired.

I have my second chemo (now fully funded by you -- such a relief!) from Monday-Wednesday this coming week. Joseph, doctors, my clinical-trial-researching-friends, and I continue to monitor my health situation and explore possibilities and plans.

I will do my best to deliver a very super return on your generous investment in my ongoing survival! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

-- Melissa

(p.s. the Bean, my oldest, is missing from this photo because he is visiting his grandparents in the US)

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Latest donations

  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor 13 hours ago


    So sorry to hear that you’re going through this again, Melissa but I’m super encouraged to hear that you’re keeping strong and having faith in the process :)


  • Evita Huang

    Evita Huang 13 hours ago


    I am so sad to hear that you are fighting this again Melissa, please stay positive and wish you and the family all the best! Sending my big hugs and love to you, Joseph and the kids. Evita Huang


  • Shinji Takagi

    Shinji Takagi 1 day ago


    You must live! There are miracles!


  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor 1 day ago



  • Marieke

    Marieke 3 days ago



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This page was created on 9 Jul 2019 and closes on 10 Oct 2019.
$112,624 of $95,000 goal

Given by 506 generous donors in 15 days

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