More than $126,000 has been donated towards Detective Sarah Cato who is fighting incurable cancer and funding treatment that could lengthen her life.

But the fundraising mission isn't over yet and she's gearing up for a gala night next month to ensure she can continue accessing the crucial medication.

Cato, a 35-year-old mum-of-one, was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago.

After undergoing a mastectomy, her doctors revealed the disease had spread and was metastatic, or incurable.

She then endured a gruelling course of chemotherapy and radiation and has been taking Herceptin to slow further cancer growth.


During her treatment she worked on several high-profile criminal investigations including Operation Nepal - the brutal sexual assault and murder of 69-year-old Cunxiu Tian in her family home in Te Atatu in January last year.

She also undertook studies to graduate as a detective.

Cato recently came to a point in her cancer journey when she needed to ramp up her treatment.

She wanted to try Perjeta - a drug that could give her almost two more years of life.

Perjeta, which when used in conjunction with Herceptin, has been shown to reduce the risk of metastatic cancer worsening.

Detective Sarah Cato is battling incurable breast cancer. Photo / Michael Craig
Detective Sarah Cato is battling incurable breast cancer. Photo / Michael Craig

The drug has been fully funded by Pharmac since the start of last year- but only for patients who have not been previously treated with Herceptin or chemotherapy.

Cato is one of about 160 women who do not qualify for funded Perjeta treatment.

So, to get more time with her family, she needed to find the money to pay for it herself

The treatment, including ongoing infusions, costs at least $130,000.

Cato appealed to the public to help her and as of today more than $126,000 has been donated.

The first $100,000 was donated in the week after the Herald shared Cato's story.

That meant she could start receiving the treatment earlier than anticipated.

She has an infusion weekly and said she is feeling great - and still working full time fighting crime.

A comedy night held by her colleagues at the Waitemata Police raised a further $7000.

But Cato is still short of her goal.

A gala night will be held on August 18 at The Trusts Arena in West Auckland with musical entertainment, dinner, drinks and a silent auction.

Broadcaster Simon Dallow will host the event alongside comedian Urzula Carlson.

The organising committee were busy selling tickets and locking in silent auction items.

Many items had been donated but Cato said there was still room on the list if anyone wanted to donate.

She was overwhelmed with the support she has had so far.

She said she lived by the motto "she believed she could, so she did" and it had rung true in the last couple of months.

"I can't believe the success of this," she said.

Cato also wanted to inspire other women in her position to persevere and not give up.

"I never thought I'd be able to afford this treatment, like many other women in our country who were diagnosed with MBC prior to January 2017," she said.

"It's outrageous that we have to raise this money ourselves but know that it can be done.

"I empower women warriors who are in the same situation as me to get rowdy about this injustice and refuse to give up fighting.

"We must keep our hope that one day this situation will change and we'll be given an opportunity to access this critical treatment."

If you can donate silent auction items or want information on purchasing tickets to the gala evening - email

To donate to the Givealittle page click here.

Saving Sarah Cato - thanks

Sarah Cato wishes to thank the following groups organisations and companies for their support of her gala night next month.

She also wants to thank every person who has donated money or silent auction items to help fund her treatment.

• The Trusts Arena
• Waitakere Licensing Trust
• Dr Rudis
• Zeffer cider
• Forage and Bloom
• Mozaik, Constellation Drive
• Fine Wine Delivery Company
• Constellation Brands
• Hancocks
• White Chapel Jak
• The Florenzi Quartet
• Ronni Biggz DJ