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Raising funds to treat metastatic colorectal cancer

$42,655 donated

Given by 254 generous donors in 12 weeks

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Need help to fight Stage IV colorectal cancer

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Hello there ❀ I’m asking for help to raise funds for the treatment of my stage IV colorectal cancer. I really thought after a year of radiation and chemo, surgery and more chemo that I would be having a bit of a break from treatments but, a recent CT scan shows the cancer has now spread to my liver and possibly lungs. The not so great news is that the treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer includes drugs that are not currently funded here in New Zealand. The good news though is that I feel quite positive and have an amazing support crew of family and friends – and a strong belief and faith in God.

My proposed new treatment plan includes a chemotherapy drug FOLFIRI which is publicly funded and cetuximab, which is not funded. The cost for 12 cycles (approximately six months) of cetuximab is high - $56,992 NZD. Thankfully, the cost of drug is capped at $20,000, but I still need to pay to have it administered intravenously at $2400 per treatment, and for ongoing consultation fees ($225).

There is no guarantee this treatment is going to cure my cancer, but there is hope it will stop or slow the cancer and maybe shrink it to a stage that I can have surgery to remove any tumours. At the very least my treatment will give me some more time – and I desperately want to be around for my kids for as long as I can, and to continue to be with my wonderful husband, Fetu. These are the people that make me determined to beat the odds and seek the best medical care I can get.

Fetu and I both work full-time and as the main income earner for our family I have needed to work through most of my treatments and will keep working for as long as I possibly can, but we still won’t have the means to meet my medical expenses, and I need to ask for help.

As my medical situation changes, a different treatment could be suggested by my oncologist or other health specialists. I might therefore use raised funds to pay not only for cetuximab, but also for other medical expenses, to seek treatment overseas (e.g. UK and US) and to help meet my family’s expenses during this time. That is why I have opted to have an ‘open goal’ for this Givealittle page.

Through the power of people acting together, a little becomes a lot. Any donation, small or large, will be helpful and I would be hugely grateful. If a small regular payment for several months is more manageable, the Givealittle Plan makes it possible to make regular donations by setting up automatic payments.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my situation, and God bless 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 family's expenses during this time.

Latest update

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Hello everyone  19 September 2019

Sorry have been a bit quiet lately….

A lot has happened since my last update. I started on cetuximab (the unfunded drug) have done 2 rounds now, tolerated it pretty good. The main side effects are acne and so far (knock on wood) haven’t had any outbursts ….must be my beautiful Samoan genes 😊, thinning and possible hair loss is another which I again attribute to having thick long bushy Samoan hair because I still have some left (thank goodness!).

I’ve done 4 rounds of Folfiri and since my last update I have been in and out of hospital as with chemo my blood counts are pretty low so am prone to catch anything and I did! Lucky me 😊. We travelled down with the kids to Rotorua first week of Sept for my daughter’s (No.2) football tournament and I was admitted to Rotorua hospital straight away and had to stay back while the kids travelled back to Auckland on their own. I was having temperatures over 38 and 39 and yet all the tests came back ok so the doctors were being extra cautious and wanted to make sure I was all good before I was discharged. We travel a lot for my kid’s sports and this trip was definitely one for the books. We even took a photo as evidence! Life is what you make of it and we make the most of what life throws at us - the good, the bad and the ugly.

And during this time your donations keep coming in. Thank you thank you thank you! We are much grateful for your generosity and kindness especially as I have now taken leave without pay from work since end Aug. My recent treatment plan has been pretty tough and having been in and out of hospital a number of times I’ve decided to focus on getting through this and while I can spend quality time with my kids.

Together with your kind donations on our givealittle page there have been a number of feel good stories that I would like to share with you:

My 10 year old’s Room 19 class at Three Kings School did a bake sale fundraiser

An opposition team my son’s team played against presented our family with groceries, gift voucher and a beautiful card

And not forgetting our lovely food roster people who continue to provide our family with yummy kai every weekend. Thank you!

Just amazing God’s love shown through the kindness in people.

Till next time, stay blessed.

Read 1 more update

Latest donations

  • Ma Ward Havelock North Hawkesbay

    Ma Ward Havelock North Hawkesbay 7 days ago


    all the best


  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor on 03 Oct 2019


    Dear Penelope, although we haven't met, your situation has been brought to my attention by a friend. So I just wanted to contribute and send you my positive energy and loving thoughts.


  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor on 01 Oct 2019



  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor on 25 Sep 2019


    Dear Penelope, Thinking about you lots and sending all best wishes for strong recovery and good health. Nothing replaces your serene spirit, sunny smile, and great laugh at RIMU- you are in our thoughts and hearts. Pax-


  • Erica

    Erica on 23 Sep 2019


    Dear Penelope, I heard about you from Rosita. I hope your treatment goes well and wish you and your family all the best.


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Penelope Tevita Tuatagaloa's avatar
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This page was created on 26 Jul 2019 and closes on 25 Jan 2020.
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Given by 254 generous donors in 12 weeks

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