"CAR T-cell therapy saved my life. I know I got the fairytale outcome – but this is possible for others too. Let's help the Malaghan Institute get this breakthrough CAR T-cell technology to other Kiwis that need it."
In January 2017, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. After a long and pretty public battle, including 12 rounds of chemotherapy, I ultimately was told my cancer was terminal.
However, I was lucky enough to get onto a clinical trial for a new type of cancer treatment, called CAR T-cell therapy. The treatment is highly promising and opens a new frontier in the fight against cancer. This involved me going to Boston, USA, for an expensive set of procedures. Ultimately though, it was successful and I am in complete remission.
CAR T-cell therapy can be a lifeline and I want to help bring this ground-breaking science to New Zealand. The researchers at the Malaghan Institute are preparing to trial a next generation CAR T-cell therapy and are undertaking parallel research to improve CAR T-cell therapies and extend them to other forms of cancer. The Institute is New Zealand's leader in this area and they have the expertise to take this through to long-term success.
As an advocate for the Malaghan Institute, I have committed to raise awareness and funds to help them. It means giving New Zealanders access to potentially life-saving treatment.
With your support we can make a real difference for New Zealand. You can donate now or contact the Malaghan Institute's Head of Development Laura Golland to talk about how you can help.
Or you can contact me if you'd like to know more about my story, or contact the Malaghan Institute's communications team for more about the Malaghan Institute's story.
You can also book me to speak - I'm a pretty decent public speaker, and will entertain and inspire. You can see a preview, and book me through my agent.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manuwanui
David's book, A Mild Touch of the Cancer, is available at mildtouch.nz. Proceeds go to the Malaghan Institute and to Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ. The documentary based on this book, A Mild Touch of Cancer, was released in late 2021. Directed by Annie Goldson, it follows David's journey navigating cancer and supporting others doing the same, and offers a unique view of our efforts to make CAR T-cell cancer therapy available to more New Zealanders. It is currently screening on SkyGo (free to view) and in feature length on Neon.