16 July 2010
In 2008 Kathryn Williams was diagnosed with incurable stage IV metastatic melanoma and given nine to 12 months to live. What started as a small black spot on her shoulder then turned into an aggressive cancer that spread to her collar bone, kidney and ovaries.
Two years on Kathryn is still living life to the full and attributes some of this to the "parcel of hope" provided to her through access to the Malaghan Institute's Compassionate Use Cancer Vaccine Programme. Kathryn says that being treated with the cancer vaccine has not interfered with her life and she has not suffered any ill side effects.
"When I received my prognosis, the most poignant moment was the realisation there was no curative treatment option available for my disease; a diagnosis with no cure, left me in an extremely vulnerable position.
I remember well the flicker of hope ignited the day my medical oncologist advised the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research were offering me access to a vaccine.
I understood it was not a cure to my circumstances, but this Malaghan crowd won my heart.
The only thing I needed to know was that a team of medical researchers and scientists were aware of my situation; and in conjunction with my medical team, had put their hands up to help.
"I have an immense sense of gratitude to the team at Malaghan, for the amazing work they do and the invaluable contribution they have made and continue to make to my wellness.
I believe in the vaccine and I am privileged to be a recipient of the programme".
On behalf of all the staff at the Malaghan Institute, we would like to thank Kathryn for her courage in speaking about her disease and her experience with the cancer vaccine, and also for reminding us of the importance of living life for today.