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Need help whacking down metastatic colon cancer

Cause page created in the Health category by Melissa Inouye

$116,645 of $95,000 goal

Given by 526 generous donors in 9 weeks

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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

Back in the USSA  21 August 2019

Dear all

This is just a little update to say that after consulting with my NZ and US doctors, we have decided to move home to the US where I can be close to family support and within striking distance of any new clinical trials. I will be keeping up the same chemo schedule. Now, instead of using my GiveALittle funds to pay for private bevacumizab and cetuximab, I'll be using them to pay for insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and any traveling expenses for trials or consultations with other doctors. In NZ I used them to help pay for our tickets back to the States, and our moving fees. I also used them in NZ to fund a final CT-PET scan right before I left (my US doctor requested it, but the NZ doctors said that the public system couldn't fund it, so I paid for it myself using these medical funds).

The news from this most recent CT-PET scan is that the response to the chemo is good (tumor hates the taste of chemo chemicals as much as I do). Super!

With regard to the treatments, I feel kind of yucky and sick on the first day of treatment, then considerably better on the second and third days of treatment, and then after the third day, when I get unplugged from the chemo, I feel just fine.

We are living with my cousin Emily in Sandy, Utah. My kids love playing with their cousins on my side and on Joseph's side. Joseph has started his new job teaching middle school math at Pacific Heritage Academy. It's a bit of a baptism by fire, but Leaf and Shoot, who are also going to school at PHA, are enjoying spending so much time with their dad. Bean and Sprout have started middle school at Indian Hills Middle School, two blocks from Emily's house. They seem to like their teachers but are generally unimpressed by the increased length of the school day and the lack of breaks like morning tea and afternoon tea.

Many thanks to all of you, again, for making it possible for me and my family to move forward into these new spaces and new challenges with confidence. I am so grateful for your kindness and continue to feel completely overwhelmed by your generous support for me. I will keep chugging!

Here's a fun fact: When I am on chemo, not only the chemo chemicals itself, but also my blood and all of my body fluids are toxic and potentially damaging to human tissue. Nobody but me is supposed to touch them. Beware the poison boogies!

Cytotoxically yours,


Read 2 more updates

Latest donations

  • Z

    Z on 02 Sep 2019


    May all prayers with you and your family, Melissa!


  • Cathy

    Cathy on 31 Aug 2019



  • David

    David on 25 Aug 2019



  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor on 19 Aug 2019


    Sending much ❤️


  • Steven

    Steven on 19 Aug 2019



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This page was created on 9 Jul 2019 and closes on 10 Oct 2019.
$116,645 of $95,000 goal

Given by 526 generous donors in 9 weeks

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