Eastern Courier : October 10th 2014
YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Friday, October 10, 2014 Fight of her life By ANNA LOREN YOUNG cancer patient Sally Xu just wants to spend more time with the love of her life. The 24-year-old and her partner, Victor Labuschagne, have been together for eight-and-a-half years. But now the only hope for their future is a $280,000 drug that is not funded in New Zealand. Sally has refractory, or recurrent, Hodgkin’s lymphoma. About 135 Kiwis are diag- nosed every year with the disease, which attacks white blood cells and eventually shuts down the immune system. The Flat Bush woman was diagnosed at the age of 20 and says it was a total shock. ‘‘I had never, ever even thought about cancer. You see it on TV but you never think it’ll happen to you. ‘‘At the start I was in the hospital for about three or four weeks for tests and all I could think about was, ‘I’m going to lose my hair’. It wasn’t until I lost my hair that it hit me and I realised I could actually lose my life.’’ AucklandUniversity music student Lawrence Wong will perform a solo piano recital on Sunday to raise funds for Sally’s cancer treatment. It starts at 3pm at King’s School Memorial Hall, 258 Remuera Rd, Remuera. Tickets are $10 andcan be bought by emailing email@example.com or on the door. Promising result: Atumour in Sally’s chest has shrunk significantly after just fourrounds ofBrentuximab, a drug that is not funded inNewZealand. vitamin C infusions and Chinese herbal medicine before finding out about a drug called Brentuximab. The United States Food and Drug Administration granted it accelerated approval for treating Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011 but it is not funded here. Sally’s family borrowed the money to pay for the first round of treatment. She has now had four courses of the drug and the difference is clear to see, Victor says. ‘‘The main tumour, the one in her chest, is almost entirely gone – it’s a lot smaller.’’ Now the couple is desper- Sally has had chemotherapy, radiotherapy and even a stem cell transplant but all have failed. In November 2013 she was told she had exhausted all of her options and could only be offered palliative care. ‘‘That’s when I started doing my own research. I thought, ‘I’m at the end, I might as well do everything I can’.’’ She tried supplements, Dropping those old school titles By MEGHAN LAWRENCE The new leadership team at Ormiston Primary School has ditched the traditional titles of principal, deputy principal and teacher. Leader of learning Heath McNeil will head up the school which is set to be completed by next Febru- ary. Deputy principals become associate leaders of learning, while teachers are learning coaches. McNeil says changing job titles transforms perceptions of what modern schooling is like. ‘‘We had to change the language so that people would stop and think. ‘‘Teaching is a really important part of being a learning coach but you also mentor, guide, facilitate, inspire, motivate and provide.’’ McNeil is no stranger to East Auckland schools, having taught at Point View School and Saint Kentigern College. He later became deputy principal and then principal at Manurewa’s Rowandale CONTINUED Page 3 Top team:NewOrmiston Primary leader of learning Heath McNeil and associate leadersoflearningCaroline Bush and Diana Wilkes. ately trying to raise the money to complete the treatment. Sally needs $150,000 urgently for the first nine courses but ideally wants to raise the full $280,000. She and her supporters have held raffles, an art auc- ❝ – Sally Xu I had never, ever even thought about cancer. You see it on TV but you never think it’ll happen to you ... It wasn’t until I lostmy hair that it hitmeandI realised I could actually lose my life. Hard battle: Sally Xu is fundraisingfor her fight against refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Photo:ANNALOREN Raisingmoney for unfunded drug her only hope of surviving SOLO PIANO RECITAL tion and a movie night and so far have raised $80,000. ‘‘It makes me want to fight more to get this because I know that it’s working. It would be heartbreaking to have to stop,’’ she says. Victor has been a constant source of support. She struggled for a long time with feelings of fear and shame, she says. ‘‘I didn’t look in the mirror for about two years because of how I felt about myself. I didn’t want to leave the house, even to go to the supermarket. ‘‘Every day Victor would hug me, he would kiss me, he would tell me that I was beautiful, even when I didn’t feel it. I really can’t ask for anything else.’’ ❚ Go to givealittle.co.nz/ cause/savesally to donate or facebook.com/helpsavesally for updates.
October 8th 2014
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