Cathy Durkin Cancer Treatment Campaign(Access to Ipilimumab) – please help!

Dear Readers,

I received an email from a friend a few days ago, explaining about  the  Cathy Durkin Cancer Treatment Campaign(Access to Ipilimumab) .

I was asked to send an email to and CC and, which untill today, I didn’t do:(. However, I did like their facebook page , and when I read today’s update, well, I decided that I really do need to write that email, and I hope some of you will do too.)

This was her update on the facebook page :

My name is Cathy Durkin and this is my cancer story.

In June
of 2011, I began to see flashing lights in my right eye. I went to the
optician who diagnosed me with a torn retina. I was sent straight to
the Mater Hospital where I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma. From
there, I was sent to the Eye and Ear Hospital where I was told that the
tumour was 11.6mm and the only option was to remove the eye.

My eye was removed on the 19th of July 2011 – one of the worst days of my life.
Fast forward a little bit and in early October I began to have problems
with my hip. I had an MRI which came back as atypical. Thankfully, I
happened to have an appointment with my oncologist Professor John Crown
on the 30th November. I gave him the disc of the MRI and the
radiologists in St. Vincent’s reviewed the scan and diagnosed me with a
hip fracture and cancer in the hip joint.

Professor Crown very
kindly waited until after Christmas before telling us that the cancer
had spread to my hip, but with that also came the devastating news that I
had cancer in my liver aswell. I began chemotherapy in January2012 but
after 2 sessions we were given the worst news that the treatment wasn’t
working and the tumours had grown slightly.
I am now going through
Immunotherapy which is a treatment where my immune system is heightened
to fight the cancer cells. The next stage is a new treatment called
Ipilimumab (Ipi) which is currently not funded by HSE or the insurance
companies in Ireland at the moment

My friends and family have
come together to raise the money to pay for this treatment. They have
also started a campaign to have the HSE reverse their position on
funding this potentially life saving drug as currently there are a lot
of people in addition to myself who need access to this drug.

 So how can you help?

Simply copy and paste the below draft letter to send to the HSE to reqest
that they change their position on funding for Ipilimumab.

Please copy and paste the emails below and send them to
(that is the email address for Cathal McGee the Head of the HSE) and
copy main HSE enquiry and also Head of Finance Liam
Below is the text:
Dear Mr McGee

Please find below a letter we received from Mr Francis McCaffrey, HR Manager for Bristol-Myers Squibb.
We need to raise €85,000 for buy the drug Ipilimumab (Ipi) for our
friend Cathy Durkin who has melanoma cancer. This story has had wide
coverage in the last week on the Joe Duffy Show, in the Evening Herald
and was carried on the front page of the Irish Daily Mail on Saturday
with a follow up on the Irish Mail on Sunday and also in the last few
Cathy has three small kids – her youngest Conor is about to
start school in September, Alyssa is making her First Holy Communion
next May 2013 and her eldest Alex is making his Confirmation next May
also. We have already started to fund raise for this drug – we have
planned choir nights, sponsored walks, football marathons, Disco Diva
nights and cake sales – we have already raised €35k so we have €50k to
Can you please review your decision to fund this to save families like the Durkin Family?
Can you please make a decision on this very quickly – we have only
really 4 weeks so that is what is causing this to be so urgent!
Cancer affects everyone – not just the cancer sufferer, but their children, husbands, parents, friends and neighbours.
Cathy has enough to worry about without wondering where the money is
coming from – and that is why we are planning so many events to get as
much money as possible together in a ridiculously short space of time in
a recession – but we will get there if we have to by hook or by crook!

Sadly Cathy is not the only person in this position so it’s imperative
that the HSE change their decision on funding for Ipilimumab.

Please help!!

With many thanks for a speedy decision

I am hoping everybody who reads this blog, takes out 1 minute of their busy schedule to copy and paste this into an email, and hopefully your emails will make a difference to Cathy and her family and everybody else in Ireland who needs access to this medication.


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One Comment

  1. Pingback: State reaches deal on cost with cancer drug producer – update Cathy Durkin Cancer Appeal | Working, living & Travelling in Ireland

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