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 Nov 2021

Australasian Melanoma Conference AMC2021

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

Australian researchers spearhead paradigm shift in melanoma treatment
20 Sep 2021

Australian researchers spearhead paradigm shift in melanoma treatment

Drug therapy set to become standard treatment in high-risk early stage patients to stop disease spread

Tags: melanoma
Prof Georgina Long AO awarded inaugural Outstanding Female Researcher Medal from AAHMS
16 Sep 2021

Prof Georgina Long AO awarded inaugural Outstanding Female Researcher Medal from AAHMS

Prof Long AO has been recognised by Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences for her transformative work advancing melanoma treatments.

Tags: melanoma
Amie St Clair Ball in Wagga postponed for a third time
06 Sep 2021

Amie St Clair Ball in Wagga postponed for a third time

COVID restrictions continue to impact fundraising for melanoma services in Riverina.

Honouring Ben's life by supporting the next generation of melanoma researchers
30 Aug 2021

Honouring Ben's life by supporting the next generation of melanoma researchers

Ben Garrow lost his life to melanoma. In his honour his family has established a scholarship to support a PhD student whose work focuses on saving lives from melanoma.

MIA's annual Research Retreat 2021
20 Aug 2021

MIA's annual Research Retreat 2021

More than 150 clinicians, researchers and MIA staff gathered online to share research highlights.

Understanding the needs of Stage III melanoma patients when choosing treatments.
28 Jul 2021

Understanding the needs of Stage III melanoma patients when choosing treatments.

Independent researchers at The University of Sydney are seeking patient feedback.

Community Fundraising Wrap Up Apr-June 2021
21 Jul 2021

Community Fundraising Wrap Up Apr-June 2021

A re-cap of the wonderful, and often very creative, community fundraising initiatives over the April to June quarter.

Tags: melanoma
Patients paying it forward
19 Jul 2021

Patients paying it forward

Our patients who donate their tissue samples and records to our research are helping to make a difference to the lives of future melanoma patients. 

Tags: melanoma
Research boost to improve outcomes for melanoma patients
15 Jul 2021

Research boost to improve outcomes for melanoma patients

MIA researchers have recently been awarded two competitive funding grants, which will help facilitate their ground-breaking work in melanoma research.

Tags: melanoma
Amie St Clair 10th Annual Ball
25 Jun 2022

Amie St Clair 10th Annual Ball

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Amie St Clair Melanoma at the Annual Ball in Wagga Wagga!   

Riverina Melanoma Ride
31 Mar - 07 Apr 2022

Riverina Melanoma Ride

Postponed to early 2022. Melanoma survivor Matt Kean is doing a 1000km bike ride around the Riverina to increase awareness of melanoma and raise funds for Amie St Clair Melanoma - MIA. There are many ways you can be part of this life-changing ride!

Melanoma Clinical Trial opens in Wagga
23 Jun 2021

Melanoma Clinical Trial to open in Wagga

Riverina patients gain access to potentially life saving immunotherapy treatment close to home.

Tags: melanoma
Queen's Birthday Honour for Professor Richard Scolyer
13 Jun 2021

 Queen's Birthday Honour for Professor Richard Scolyer

MIA's Prof Scolyer has been appointed as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia. 

Tags: melanoma
Sharing our research on the global stage at 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting
07 Jun 2021

Sharing our research on the global stage at 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting

Research from MIA was once again in the spotlight as findings were shared at the virtual ASCO21. 

Tags: melanoma
Australian researchers lead world in successful trial of new cancer treatment
03 Jun 2021

Australian researchers lead world in successful trial of new cancer treatment.

In a breakthrough which could extend to the treatment of other cancers, a new immune checkpoint inhibitor has proven effective in helping save the lives of advanced melanoma patients.

Tags: melanoma
Thank you doesn't seem enough for our melanoma nurses.
28 May 2021

Thank you doesn't seem enough for our melanoma nurses.

Whilst our research and clinical teams are trialling new treatments to save lives, it is our nurses who are on the front line providing care and support.

Tags: melanoma
Sharing our knowledge of melanoma on the global stage
20 Apr 2021

Sharing our knowledge of melanoma on the global stage

As leaders in the field of melanoma, clinicians and researchers from MIA shared their knowledge at the virtual 10th World Congress of Melanoma. 

Tags: melanoma
Community Fundraising Wrap Up Jan-Mar 2021
15 Apr 2021

Community Fundraising Wrap Up Jan-Mar 2021

The easing of COVID restrictions has meant the return of community events, and we recognise the generous support of our community fundraisers.

Tags: melanoma
Melanoma patients and their families urged to speak up and put national spotlight on melanoma.
15 Apr 2021

Melanoma patients and their families urged to speak up and put national spotlight on melanoma.

Melanoma patients and their carers are being urged to participate in a ground-breaking survey which will shape the future of melanoma treatment, research, support and funding in Australia.

Tags: melanoma