Woman battling rare cancer gets Pharmac funding for drug

A young woman with a body riddled with fast growing tumours, who was left in a three-week limbo by Pharmac, has finally got funding for the drug she needs.

On Friday Olivia Fryer, 23, received the news that she'd get funding from Pharmac to take Sunitinib, which she and her doctors hope will help fight her rare cancer.

"You can not even begin to understand the relief that myself and my family have experienced," Fryer said.

"From waking up [on Friday] to a news article, to dealing with all the messages etc. to then pick the phone up to hear it's approved."

Last week, Fryer spoke to the Herald about her desperation for the drug, which she hoped would help fight the rare condition she was diagnosed with earlier this year - succinate dehydrogenase-deficient renal cell carcinoma.

After two surgeries to remove her kidney, part of her liver, a renal artery and lymph nodes, the tumours continued to appear, and Fryer was recommended radiotherapy and Sunitinib - which was unfunded for her condition and costs about $9000 every six weeks.

Her application for special funding sat with Pharmac for three weeks, before finally receiving approval, and in the meantime, she set up a Givealittle page to help raise money for the drug.

The page is now closed, and 150 people have donated $14,668.

Fryer said she would use this money to cover the cost of hospital visits, living without a job, vitamin C infusions, and a nutritionist.

"This is going to change my life, literally," she said.

- NZ Herald

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