A Bright Future for Sarah

Sarah Austin (centre) daughter of LV's Maureen Austin (left) and Victorian Lacrosse player
Sarah Austin (centre) daughter of LV's Maureen Austin (left) and Victorian Lacrosse player  

Former Chadstone Lacrosse club member, Sarah Austin, sister of Juliet Austin (Former Chadstone and Vic team player) and daughter of Maureen Austin ( LV Staff Member and former Chadstone President) has been living with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma -- a type of blood cancer --since March 2009.

Despite 3 rounds of radiotherapy, more types of chemotherapy than she can remember, (4...5...6...?) and 2 stem cell transplants, Sarah has not yet been able to win the battle over this disease.

Her doctor recently told her that after all the conventional therapies she has been through that her disease had progressed again. He recommended that she try a new drug Brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) which has had a 72% response rate (32% complete remission, 40% had their tumours reduced by 50% or more) in clinical trials of patients in similar situations to hers. Overall 94% of patients responded positively to the treatment. She was so excited and hopeful that a new drug was available to treat her, but there was one downside... the cost. Even though Brentuximab has been given accelerated approval in the US, UK, EU and Canada, and is now being commonly used to treat patients in those countries because its results have been so promising, Australia has not yet approved this drug as part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Each time she visits hospital for treatment the total cost is $11,361 ($10,326 for that day’s dose of Brentuximab and $1,035 for the afternoon in the chemo ward). She is having 4 treatments to start and then possibly more after a review of her scans. Right now her total bill for this treatment is $45,444 and that could easily double or triple.

Sarah has not worked consistently since being diagnosed , which was just after finishing her Law degree, so does not have much super or any savings to fund this treatment so at present is borrowing the money to fund this treatment.

She knows she is incredibly lucky to have access to this money at all and can't even comprehend how heart-breaking it would be to know that this treatment was available but you just couldn't afford it.

To help her fund the treatment and pay back the money she borrows, her friends are embarking on a fundraising campaign.

If you would like to find out more about Sarah’s story, to see what is planned or to help her out, you can visit her website, at https://brightfutureforsarah.squarespace.com, or connect on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/brightfutureforsarah.

Other ways that people can assist people like Sarah diagnosed with blood cancers is by donating blood through the Red Cross, (we have lost count of how many blood and platelets transfusions Sarah has had during her treatment) or by joining the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, as Sarah was lucky enough to find a donor to donate stems cells for her.

Thank you for your support!


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