Carpe diem

Carpe diem

In this Patient Perspective story, we hark back to late 2014 when we featured a story about the generosity of Warwick Sherman. In remission from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, he was embarking on a second quest to win the ‘Sydney to Hobart’ and had very thoughtfully donated his yacht’s $10,000 sponsorship fee to Snowdome.

Fast forward to 2016 and Warwick’s been busy on another quest – beating the return of the cancer, while also officially declaring himself an unofficial representative for Snowdome.

Throughout his most recent treatment (of chemotherapy followed by a second stem-cell transplant), he managed to keep his family and friends updated via a blog written from his hospital bed. Always signing off each post with a call to ‘carpe diem’ (seize the day!), the blog posts reflected his positive attitude, fighter’s spirit and wickedly great sense of humour.

According to Warwick, his “now favourite and indeed only brother, Pete” donated his stem-cells which were then “fed to me from a plastic bag, down the newly installed “Power Pac” IV line in my chest, a fashion accessory that I will have for the next 6 months.”

“We realised that Pete and I were now, literally, Blood Brothers….have to get matching gang tattoos!!!!….and I have a new moniker for him….”kebab’ as in donor kebab!!!”

Warwick is now “surviving” the first 100 days post-transplant where he undergoes “prick, poke, prod” on a very regular basis to ensure the cancer cells remain non-existent. He is happy to report that the treatment appears to have worked and he is in a “really good place regarding recovery”.

According to Warwick, the particular procedure that he just endured wasn’t available in its present form when he was originally diagnosed six years ago in July 2010. It is for this reason that he has been using his Blog posts to encourage friends and family (in his capacity as an ‘unofficial’ representative for Snowdome!) to consider donating to Snowdome “because they raise funds for coal face research into all blood cancers and without medical research I wouldn’t be on this mortal coil.”

In fact, upon release from hospital, Warwick sent us his own very generous donation of $50,000 which will be directed towards research into the analysis and monitoring of cell free DNA in haematological malignancies*.

Warwick, we thank you for your wonderful philanthropy and wish you all the best with your continued recovery and quest to be rid of the cancer once and for all. It is also our great pleasure to bestow upon you the title of ‘OFFICIAL’ Snowdome representative!

And finally, to quote your email sign-offs, “carpe diem, and eat your vegetables!” – a motto we should all live by!

 

* Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) refers to the presence of genetic material (DNA) that is derived from the individual’s malignancy and is detectable in the plasma compartment of the peripheral blood. This so-called circulating tumour DNA can be detected by high resolution genomic analysis.

The detection and analysis of ctDNA has multiple significant clinical implications for the treatment of patients with haematological malignancy (leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma), in that it can provide a comprehensive overview of the genomic landscape of the malignancy as a whole without having to perform potentially invasive biopsies. Critically, this non-invasive assessment can be continued over time to monitor a patient’s response to treatment and thus guide more precise therapy. It can also allow for much earlier detection of relapse, and therefore allow for earlier institution of salvage therapy.