David Day and a lifetime of missed moments

David Day and a lifetime of missed moments

8 June 2018

“I couldn’t eat. Barely slept. I was the one to tell Dave it was all over. All Dave said was ‘my poor, poor babies’.”  Jenny, David’s wife.

When David lost his life last year, he was 33, with three daughters under six.

David Day was one of the 20% of people with advanced melanoma have primary resistance to new drugs with ‘super progression' and we need to find out why. 

The greatest challenge our clinicians currently face in treating melanoma is ‘super progression’.

Amid all our success stories, there is still a group of people with advanced melanoma for whom absolutely nothing works. About 20% of patients our medical oncologists see with advanced melanoma fall into this category.

Super progressors do not respond to existing treatments. Within a few short months, their disease progresses aggressively and relentlessly and we cannot save them.

David Day, was one such patient —a lovely young father with a wonderful family — who died last year.

The most agonising thing about patients like David is that at present, we just don’t know why they super progress.

Dr Inês Silva was part of the clinical team which treated David Day. She was studying at MIA as a Medical Oncology Fellow from Portugal. David had such a profound impact on Inês, that on completion of her Fellowship, she decided to stay on at MIA as a Research Scientist in an all-out attempt to find answers for super progressors.

Inês and the MIA research team collected blood and melanoma tissue samples from David during his treatment. They also collected similar samples from other advanced melanoma patients who have not responded to immunotherapy.

By studying the genomic profile and protein expression in each of these patients’ tumours, Ines and the MIA research team hope to understand why each drug failed to work, paving the way for new, and potentially life-saving therapies.

While there is some existing grant funding to cover her salary, a dedicated Research Scientist like Inês can’t do it alone.

We are relying on you and on the support of our donor community to collectively fund this research project including research assistants’ salaries, PhD student scholarship top-ups, equipment, and state-of-the-art research technologies such as DNA, RNA and cell sequencing. All are key to understanding and solving primary resistance and super progression.

David was a sweet, humble family man. He was a high-achiever, had forged an exceptional career as a computer engineer for Google and made a loving, happy life raising his three daughters Charlotte, 7, Emma, 5, and Annie, now 1, with his wife Jenny, his childhood sweetheart since Year 9.

Just before Christmas 2016, with Jenny heavily pregnant with little Annie, Dave found a lump under his left arm. He had Stage III melanoma. Half way through his treatment, David found another lump under his arm and a new tumour was discovered on his left hip. His melanoma had progressed to Stage IV.

In March 2017, David and Jenny were referred to Melanoma Institute Australia. He started on a clinical trial and at first, his scans looked promising.

After starting treatment, another painful melanoma appeared on David’s wrist. In the next three months, tumours sprang up in his spleen, lungs, pancreas, bones, under his skin —  with up to 30 more in his liver. Even though immune cells were present, David was super progressing.

As the months passed, David suffered extreme pain, liver damage, rapid weight loss, blurred vision and internal bleeding. The clinical team switched to chemotherapy as a last resort and Annie’s christening was pushed forward.

On 25 August 2017, Jenny had the worst imaginable task of explaining to her soul mate that nothing more could be done for him.

“I was the one to tell him it was over. All he could say was “My poor, poor babies”. My heart ached. I had lost 15kg over the past five months from the stress of the whole situation. My milk dried up and I couldn’t feed Annie. It ate away at me while I put on a brave face for Dave and the kids,” says Jenny.

Jenny has very generously shared her painful story in the hope that it will help raise funds to crack the riddle of super progression. 

Please give today to save someone you know from the ravages of melanoma in the future, and give them what David didn’t have- the opportunity to enjoy a lifetime of special moments with their loved ones.

Donate now

 

Australasian Melanoma Conference AMC2021
19 Nov - 20 Feb 2021

Australasian Melanoma Conference AMC2021

The 2021 Australasian Melanoma Conference (AMC2021) will held in Sydney, Australia.

Predicting disease spread in thin melanoma
05 Mar 2021

Predicting disease spread in thin melanoma

A new MIA online risk calculator for clinicians can determine the likelihood of thin melanoma spreading.   

Tags: melanoma
Exploring our own clinical questions through MIA's new trials initiative
04 Mar 2021

Exploring our own clinical questions through MIA's new trials initiative

MIA has recently established a new division of our Clinical Trials Program which co-ordinates and manages investigator-led multi-centre trials. 

Tags: melanoma
Young researchers awarded Fellowships to pursue innovative treatments for melanoma
04 Mar 2021

Young researchers awarded Fellowships to pursue innovative treatments for melanoma

Two young researchers from MIA and The University of Sydney awarded Cancer Institute NSW fellowships.

Tags: melanoma
Young researchers receive boost to develop innovative treatment for melanoma
04 Mar 2021

Young researchers receive boost to develop innovative treatment for melanoma

Two young researchers from MIA and The University of Sydney awarded Cancer Institute NSW fellowships.

Tags: melanoma
Launch of Melanoma March 2021
01 Mar 2021

Launch of Melanoma March 2021

Aussies urged to leave their footprint on melanoma as efforts step up to save lives from the disease.

Tags: melanoma
WA Melanoma Community Forum
25 Mar 2021

WA Melanoma Community Forum

An evening for WA melanoma patients, carers and the wider melanoma community, where speakers will provide updates on melanoma research, treatment and support.  

Olivia Vivian announced as MIA ambassador
12 Feb 2021

Olivia Vivian announced as MIA ambassador

Olivia is using her Ninja star power to shine a spotlight on melanoma prevention - in memory of her dad. 

Tags: melanoma
Melanoma breakthrough - neoadjuvant treatment saving lives.
09 Feb 2021

Melanoma breakthrough - neoadjuvant treatment saving lives.

Drug treatment before surgery, known as neoadjuvant therapy, is being hailed as one of the biggest breakthroughs in melanoma treatment since the advent of immunotherapy.

Tags: melanoma
Melanoma breakthrough - neoadjuvant therapy saving lives.
09 Feb 2021

Melanoma breakthrough - neoadjuvant therapy saving lives.

Drug treatment before surgery, known as neoadjuvant therapy, is being hailed as one of the biggest breakthroughs in melanoma treatment since the advent of immunotherapy.

Tags: melanoma
Are cancer patients on immunotherapy at a greater risk of severe COVID-19 infection?
04 Feb 2021

Are cancer patients on immunotherapy at a greater risk of severe COVID-19 infection?

New research, led by MIA, has revealed that cancer patients treated with immunotherapy are not at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection compared to other cancer patients.

Tags: melanoma
Are cancer patients on immunotherapy at a greater risk of severe COVID-19 infection?
04 Feb 2021

Are cancer patients on immunotherapy at a greater risk of severe COVID-19 infection?

New research, led by MIA, has revealed that cancer patients treated with immunotherapy are not at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection compared to other cancer patients.

Tags: melanoma
A message to all Australians from melanoma patient Stuart Taylor
16 Dec 2020

A message to all Australians from melanoma patient Stuart Taylor

Stuart has advanced melanoma which is not responding to treatment. He has shared his story on ABC's 7:30 in the hope that others can escape the same fate. 

Tags: melanoma
Olivia Vivian nominates MIA as Charity Partner on Channel 9's Celebrity Apprentice.
02 Dec 2020

Olivia Vivian nominates MIA as Charity Partner on Channel 9's Celebrity Apprentice.

A Ninja Warrior legend and Olympic gymnast, Olivia knows first hand the devastating impact of melanoma.

Tags: melanoma
It's 'Game On Mole' this summer!
01 Dec 2020

It's 'Game On Mole' this summer!

All Australians are urged to join the fight against melanoma this summer. 

Tags: melanoma
Prof Richard Scolyer named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year  
27 Nov 2020

Prof Richard Scolyer named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year  

The ground-breaking work of MIA's Co-Medical Director Prof Richard Scolyer has been recognised with NSW’s highest accolade for cancer research. 

Tags: melanoma
Dr James Wilmott wins 2020 Wildfire Highly Cited Publication Award
24 Nov 2020

Dr James Wilmott wins 2020 Wildfire Highly Cited Publication Award

A landmark study led by MIA's Dr Willmott is making a difference to melanoma treatment around the globe.

Tags: melanoma
MIA researchers feature on prestigious Highly Cited Researchers 2020 List
18 Nov 2020

MIA researchers feature on prestigious Highly Cited Researchers 2020 List

The highly anticipated annual list is the “who’s who” of the scientific elite from across the globe.

Tags: melanoma
Game On Mole is back this summer!
13 Nov 2020

Game On Mole is back this summer!

The uniquely Aussie awareness campaign ‘Game On Mole’ is back for its second year – with a new look but same important message.

Tags: melanoma
RCPA recognition for Professor Richard Scolyer.
12 Nov 2020

RCPA recognition for Professor Richard Scolyer.

Professor Richard Scolyer receives The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Distinguished Fellow Award.

Tags: melanoma