James Cormack is a long-time supporter, first-time fundraiser for the Peter Mac Foundation. He’ll be participating in this year’s Unite To Fight Cancer on Sunday 27 October, and we’ll be supporting him throughout the year with training tips and fundraising know-how, to help him smash his fundraising target!
James is also a Stage IV melanoma survivor. This is his story.
“In June 2013 I noticed a pimple on my left cheek, which I cut whilst shaving. It became ulcerated, so I went to my GP. By the end of July I had two excisions of the affected area, both showing aggressive melanoma. I was referred to Peter Mac and had a radical left neck dissection that removed the lymph nodes from my neck. The results came back 100% clear on the tissue excised in late November.
“My first review in March 2014 showed a return of the melanoma to Stage IV. I underwent treatment, which was unsuccessful. However, Professor Grant McArthur offered me access to a trial drug – an immunotherapy drug for advanced stage melanoma. I started treatment in July, and in late September my PET scan results showed a worsening of my tumours; I had tumours on my cheek, lungs, sternum, spine, liver, kidneys, groin, and one on my scalp. About 40% of my internal torso was covered with tumours.
“I was given until Christmas 2014 to live – a devastating prognosis.
“However, my next scan in December 2014 showed that 75% of my tumours had either gone or had shrunk. I continued with the treatment, and in March 2015 I received my first scan stating that I was 100% tumour-free. Every scan since has shown the same.
“I am now a Patient Consumer Representative, and I’m still part of two research studies through Melanoma Research Victoria and the Melanoma biomarkers study at Peter Mac.”
James is not just fundraising to support the Foundation that saved his life – he’s participating as part of a family team with the loved ones who helped him to get through his diagnosis. As he says, “the whole family goes through a cancer diagnosis with you. It’s their ongoing support that helps you to stay positive, and to concentrate your energy into getting well again.”
If you feel inspired by James’ story, then why not join us on Sunday 27 October, as we Unite To Fight Cancer?