Waikato police have come together to support a much-loved colleague and mentor Detective Sergeant Neville "Nev" Ross, from Cambridge, as he fights a last-chance battle to live another year with the brain tumour he has been fighting since 2018.
As Neville has exhausted all Government-funded treatment options, his final hope is the drug Avastin that costs $5000 a fortnight. His police colleagues and friends have set up a Givealittle page allowing him to start treatment on Monday.
Neville was diagnosed with the tumour out of the blue in 2018 and has since undergone surgery as well as chemo and radiation therapy. He went into remission, but the brain tumour suddenly came back last year.
His wife Denise says: "It's definitely terminal. Without Avastin, he has two months ... We know it's not forever ... in the end, the tumour will take him ... but to us [trying Avastin] is worthwhile. Neville wants to do it, he's got a strong drive."
She says the idea for the fundraising page came from Neville's colleague Craig Singer.
"People often ask us 'what can we do' but there is not a lot anybody can do ... Craig asked whether he was allowed to set up the page ... It was a lovely gesture."
Neville has been with the Waikato Police for 44 years and retired only last week. He even kept working for 20 hours a week all while undergoing chemo and radiation therapy.
"He is a hardworking man that never stops. This guy is very determined ... The police were absolutely amazing, they found him jobs that he could still do. He would do the investigating from inside the office or he would find ways to sneak out with somebody," Denise says.
Even now, Neville is still going outside pruning trees and feeding the cows on his property.
"He does everything he can. If you met him you wouldn't know he is sick, he doesn't feel he is sick. One of the doctors [even] said Neville was the healthiest terminal patient he had treated."
However, the tumour on the left side of his brain causes him to forget things and he is having difficulty speaking.
"He is also slowly losing movement and strength. We had a couple of broken glasses lately because he keeps dropping things. And he gets a bit more emotional than he used to."
Asking Neville about his plans for the year, he says: "Spending time with family. And travelling. I'd love to go to Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown. If I could go anywhere in the world, I would to go to Hawaii."
Neville and Denise have two sons, Michael, a police officer and Nathan, a builder, and four grandchildren. After Neville was diagnosed with the tumour, the whole family went on holiday to Hawaii and Denise says it was the most amazing trip.
"But Neville can't fly any more, so going to Hawaii again won't be possible. Queenstown has a special place in our hearts, we love the scenery of the mountains and countryside. I would take him down there in a heartbeat."
Other things on his to-do list are museums, Denise says. "He just loves tractors and I know he would like to go and see museums with old machinery and stuff."
Talking about the police's involvement in helping Neville, Denise is says: "It would be such a different story if the police weren't here. The guys love him ... and we absolutely love them. They are part of our family now and we can't thank them enough for what they do for us, not only for Neville, but also for me."
The Police's Givealittle page has so far raised $25,265 of the $50,000 goal in less than three weeks.
Denise says: "If people would like to give, Neville is a genuine bloke who always loved to give to everybody else ... [and] wouldn't accept anything in return.
"He is someone even the criminals liked. Some of them turned their lives around because of him and if they meet him again on the street it's not unusual for them to come over and introduce themselves and thank him. 'You're a good guy, Nev', they would say."
• To check out the Givealittle page or donate click here.