Sadly Jackey's time over the past 5 years has not been easy. Jackey is one of life's great survivors; she has been surviving cancer for the past 5 years. She has endured numerous bouts of Chemo & Radiotherapy. She has had 4 very serious operations, most recently (in February of this year) she had a blood clot and brain tumour – from which her family were told she would not survive.
She was sent from Canberra Hospital to the Hospice to die. Her husband Jim would not accept this and fought to find an alternative, and one was found. An operation that gave her a 50/50 chance of survival. They operated, against all odds she did survive, her family were told she would probably be a severely handicapped, Jackey however had other ideas, not only did she survive, but has fought back again, to the point, while still weak, has full control and use of her mind and body.
Her Latest Challenge
In August 2005, after her last lot of Radiotherapy finished Jackey was not feeling too well, it was suspected she had a blood clot on the lungs and she was admitted to hospital. She did indeed have a blood clot on the lung. In addition and shortly thereafter Jackey found out that any further conventional treatment on her cancer was ruled out. Jackey has an atypical carcinoid, this type of cancer is extremely aggressive in its persistence. Jackey and her family were told that there were no further options on the day her 2 nd grandchild was born in the same hospital. Jackey's family and husband once again spent every possible moment by her bedside in Hospital, a situation all too familiar to them. I visited Jackey when she was in hospital, and I don't think I have every seen someone so frail with such determination to survive, I cried. There was hope that Jackey could go to Melbourne for treatment, but it was found this would not be suitable for her condition. After 6 weeks of many visits, phone calls and chasing medical experts Jim (Jackey's Husband) had identified a new wonder drug called Avastin as a possible treatment. The drug is TGA approved, but is not on the pharmaceutical benefits list.
Jim managed to secure hospital treatment for Jackey, who initially needed 6 treatments over 18 weeks at a cost of over $8,300.00 a treatment, every 3 weeks. The hospital, and reasonably so, required full payment prior to each treatment session being administered as this drug, the only option to save her life, was not on the PBS. Jackey has had no other option but to pay for this treatment out of her own pocket. This cost is in addition to her everyday pharmaceutical and Doctors costs. Further adding to her difficulties Jackey has had to seek treatment interstate in order to reduce the cost slightly.
The good news is that thanks to the financial support from a lot of wonderful caring people, the treatment has begun to work. Consecutive marker CT/Abdomen Scans have clearly shown a significant reduction in the tumour from 9.5cm by 4.5cm to 5.5cm by 3cam as at 13 January 2006.
The Cost of Life
Over the last five months the Friends of Jackey Best have been able to raise approximately $16,300 through Trivia Nights, Donations and through the sale of prints of Jackey's artwork. Jackey and her family are most grateful to all the caring people out there, who have contributed to this. But we still have a long way to go.
The cost of treatment to date has been $61,850.00 Jackey and her family have currently amassed a debt of $45,550.00 and this is growing with every treatment. The bad news (financially) for Jackey and her family is that the treatment needs to continue indefinitely for at least 12 months. This means that the approx cost (above the current debt) would be $141,000.00 for 17 treatments. They are hoping that by continuing to pay for their treatment over the next 12 months, they can then convince Roche, the makers of Avastin, to conduct a free trial, which will include others who are fighting the same disease to stay alive.
In a nutshell we still need to raise another $186,550.00 to cover the total cost of her treatment. We would sincerely appreciate any support you could provide, no matter how big or small. Maybe you can help, maybe you know someone who can help – spread the word and help us help Jackey to survive this terrible disease and hopefully help make this treatment affordable and available to others in similar situations.