A dying Hastings father of four and his wife have ignored doctors' advice and travelled to Mexico for a last-ditch alternative cancer treatment.

On January 5, Hastings man Boy Waaka, 38, was diagnosed with stage three Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer).

But despite the fact his world had come crashing down, Boy and his wife, Elizabeth, believed they would be able to overcome the disease.

That was until a terminal diagnosis came back later that month with no viable treatment options in New Zealand.


Surgery was ruled out "very early", Elizabeth said, given the cancer had spread around Boy's kidney and adrenal gland and lymph nodes "very close" to the main blood vessels.

"They gave him three to 12 months to live."

An unfunded type of chemotherapy with a 15 per cent rate of success offered a glimmer of respite but was never a chance of a cure.

"If Boy was lucky enough to be one of those 15 per cent, it would give him at best six months extra. We didn't want that. He doesn't want to be sick.

"He doesn't want a poor quality of life. So we said no and, other than that, they just said his GP and palliative care would take care of him."

Then a chance pop-up on Facebook about an Australian woman's successful treatment in Mexico changed everything.

"I found the name of the clinic in one of her comments and private messaged her and everything has gone from there."

Nearly three weeks later, on March 5, they left behind their children and travelled to Mexico for three weeks of treatment.


"His doctors have recommended that we don't go," Elizabeth said.

"They believe that if there's no treatment here for him that nothing is going to work there, and that we're probably going to waste our money. Boy has just said to them that he is going and he can't just sit here and think 'What if, what if I went'.

"They've been good though - supportive. They just do what they believe, which is fair enough, and we wanted to hear their views too, but, at the end of the day, it is our choice."

The alternative treatment has a US$53,000 (NZ$77,000) price tag.

"We know it is a large sum of money, but no amount of money can equate to Boy's life."

Previous suggestions by friends to fundraise money had originally been turned down by the Waakas, but, unbeknown to them, fundraising had already begun.

That, on top of a bank loan and money from Boy's life insurance, plus a $10,000 donation from the Otane Rugby Club, where Boy has been a member for a decade meant they had met the amount needed.

"The amount of support that we've felt from our community and friends and family to make everything possible has been amazing. I can't even explain it," Elizabeth said.

Without them all this would not have been possible, she said.

Elizabeth said after eight days in Mexico, Boy was doing "so much better".

He had more energy, better colour and less pain, she said. His alternative treatment continues.