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

 

Australia unites taking small steps to make a big difference for melanoma research
23 Mar 2016

Australia unites taking small steps to make a big difference for melanoma research

Thank you to everyone involved in making Melanoma March 2016 a huge success

And they're off... Melanoma March 2016 begins!
29 Feb 2016

And they're off... Melanoma March 2016 begins!

Melanoma March 2016 has officially begun with more than 300 people marching in Rockingham and Devonport.

5 Minutes with Carole Renouf
29 Feb 2016

5 Minutes with Carole Renouf

MIA's new CEO Carole Renouf has been in her role only a month, but is already making plans for the future of MIA.

Opinion: Outing Melanoma
24 Feb 2016

Opinion: Outing Melanoma

In the wake of Susie Maroney's recent announcement that she is battling melanoma, CEO Carole Renouf's opinion piece weighs in on the critical need we have in Australia to raise awareness about melanoma. 

Congratulations Professor Georgina Long
22 Feb 2016

Congratulations Professor Georgina Long

MIA's Georgina Long has been appointed Professor and awarded a coverted prize in medial research.

Melanoma March 2016: Where your funds are going
19 Feb 2016

Melanoma March 2016: Where your funds are going

Melanoma March 2016 funding will be used to initiate an ambitious new project that will support the best possible care for melanoma patients around Australia through a new data and communication platform. 

New research shows long-term survival in group of advanced melanoma patients treated with BRAF inhibitors
05 Feb 2016

New research shows long-term survival in group of advanced melanoma patients treated with BRAF inhibitors

New MIA-led research has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Melanoma March 2016 is launched
02 Feb 2016

Melanoma March 2016 is launched

Melanoma March was officially launched today with the announcement of the national research project funded by the march. 

MIA's research pivotal in TGA's approval of new therapy
01 Feb 2016

MIA's research pivotal in TGA's approval of new therapy

Clinical research undertaken at MIA has been pivotal in supporting the recent Therapeutic Goods Administration approval of Opdivo (nivolumab) for advanced melanoma.

The Face of Melanoma March
28 Jan 2016

The Face of Melanoma March

Maddison, the face of our Melanoma March campaign, knows the far-reaching effects that melanoma can have.

Q&A With An Expert: Dermatologist
28 Jan 2016

Q&A With An Expert: Dermatologist

MIA's Dermatologist Associate Professor Pascale Guitera answers your most commonly-asked questions about sunscreen. 

New figures show melanoma most common cancer in young Queenslanders
08 Jan 2016

New figures show melanoma most common cancer in young Queenslanders

Statistics released by the Queensland Cancer Registry have revealed that melanoma is the most common cancer in young Queenslanders aged under 35, with rates in young women more than 20 per cent higher than in men.

5 minutes with Associate Professor Georgina Long
17 Dec 2015

5 minutes with Associate Professor Georgina Long

As 2015 draws to a close, we took the opportunity to speak with Associate Professor Georgina Long to discuss her crucial role at Melanoma Institute Australia, and the current research projects she is working on.

Watch Your Mate's Back: helping young Australians recognise melanoma
30 Nov 2015

Watch Your Mate's Back: helping young Australians recognise melanoma

MIA’s annual summer awareness campaign, which launched today (1 December), is reminding Australians how to protect themselves from the sun while highlighting the importance of encouraging friends, partners and family to do the same. 

Your Guide to Early Melanoma patient information packs
21 Oct 2015

Your Guide to Early Melanoma patient information packs

Your Guide to Early Melanoma is a new patient information pack to offer additional information for those affected by melanoma.   

Clinicians invited to MIA's 'World Round Up' event
21 Oct 2015

Clinicians invited to MIA's 'World Round Up' event

Special Event to share advances in diagnosis and treatment of both early and late stage melanoma

Melanoma landmark study to develop personalised cancer treatment
26 Aug 2015

Melanoma landmark study to help further develop personalised cancer treatment

MIA researchers contribute to the discovery of ‘treasure trove’ of information leading to more targeted treatments for melanoma 

Sunrise features inspiring story of MIA patient
10 Aug 2015

Sunrise features inspiring story of MIA patient

Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) patient Tara Moran and her seven year old daughter Olivia, who is fundraising for MIA, have been in the national media spotlight this week. 

Leading researchers honoured for global contribution to science and innovation
16 Jul 2015

Leading researchers honoured for global contribution to science and innovation

Melanoma Institute Australia’s (MIA’s) researchers have again been recognised, this time in the prestigious line-up for the 2015 Thomson Reuters Australian Citation & Innovation Awards.

MIA welcomes ground-breaking new PBS melanoma treatment
03 Jul 2015

MIA welcomes ground-breaking new PBS melanoma treatment

New Federal Government funding means patients with the most deadly form of melanoma, will soon be able to receive treatment with the drug Keytruda® (pembrolizumab), on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).