Knowledge is Power

Information in the medical world is always changing and evolving. Here at Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC); we strive to keep up with the latest developments and information.

Living with a blood cancer or serious blood condition comes with many question marks. A cancer diagnosis can impact all aspects of life, including how you think and what you may have taken for granted.

That is why the Support Services team has been working diligently to update our information fact sheets and disease specific booklets. Our YouTube channel also contains a vast library of webinars for further learning opportunities. These educational materials are a valuable resource to patients, and their families to refer back to if a question comes up.

The new factsheets cover a wide range of topics that include: haemochromatosis, blood cancer and fertility (in men and women), chemo brain, eating well and more.

You can find all of these fact sheets on our website.

Election Request from Cango

Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ, together with eight other prominent NZ cancer charities, is lobbying all political parties on the needs of cancer patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery in the lead up to this years election.  The 10-point plan lays out for each political party, a pathway to ensure world class care and treatment for New Zealanders, and equity to all New Zealanders in the provision of this.

To read the fully Manifesto, CANGO_2020



New Hope For Cancer Patients Accessing Leading-Edge Unfunded Drugs

Peter Fergusson, CEO of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand is heartened to hear that Pharmac has announced plans to back an Early Access Scheme which could potentially give cancer patients access to new and emerging medicines and treatments.
“Few cancer patients have time to wait, and many are prematurely dying because they do not always have access to the most optimal medication at the right time in their treatment cycle. Many of these emerging medicines and treatments are being fast-tracked, funded and made available in other OECD countries,” says Fergusson.

Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand is part of a coalition of cancer NGOs called CANGO. A collaborative group of patient-focused cancer organisations that have proposed a Rapid Access Scheme to the government as part of the broader solution for improved cancer treatment in New Zealand.
Rapid Access Schemes have been introduced, and trialed, in the UK, and some European countries, initial versions of these schemes have not proven successful however recent iterations of these schemes have been streamlined and improved dramatically. New Zealand has the unique opportunity to learn from these experiences and adopt leading-edge best practice processes based on the successes from these proven and successful structures.

“We are looking forward to receiving the pending formal reviews of the UK Early Access Scheme to benchmark those learnings against the draft proposal submitted to the Health Minister. My hope is for the government to actively ring-fence funding for a pilot scheme from the May budget. It is hard not to ponder how many lives might be improved, prolonged and saved this year if a pilot Rapid Access Scheme was implemented within the next few months?” says Fergusson.

Since being elected, the government has confirmed cancer is one of its major health priorities.

“Cancer is New Zealand’s biggest killer and is responsible for over 30% of all deaths each year. It is encouraging to hear Pharmac backing an innovative concept that could reduce cancer-related deaths. It begins to give hope that this will open the door to new and leading-edge treatment options. It shows that the government may be listening to the growing voice of concern and may also be willing to take action against a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in our country,” says Fergusson.
Some medical experts say Phil Kerslake is New Zealand’s longest surviving and most prolific cancer patient in New Zealand. Phil has been living with different cancers and its treatments since his teens – over 40 years.

Kerslake is encouraged by the prospect of a Government approved Rapid Access Scheme.

“In my case, there are few remaining treatment options, and my current treatments are viewed by doctors as palliative. The rapid evolution of new targeted therapies and immunotherapy has given me, and other patients hope for a better future.

I feel there is every chance that early access to some of the unfunded drugs in the pipeline will prove the difference between premature deaths and otherwise long, highly productive lives. I love my life and my family, and I hope to live to benefit personally from an emerging treatment. But if my good fortune is to end, I would dearly like to believe those following me have the opportunity to live on,” says Kerslake.

The good deed feed

A good news round up from around New Zealand!


Trio embark on the Big Bike Trip

Brothers Freddie and Arthur Gillies, along with friend Sean Wakely, are cycling 15,000km from Bali to London in memory of their late Uncle John Waller, a huge supporter of LBC. The trio are hoping to raise $15,000 – or $1 for every km cycled. To follow their adventures or to make a donation visit


Hamilton Calendar Girls a great success

A production of Calendar Girls, shown at the Woolshed Theatre in Te Awamutu in September raised $2,000 in aid of LBC. The show is based on a true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for leukaemia research in the UK.

Hawke’s Bay

Napier PwC Shave … or Dye

Accountants in Hawke’s Bay put a spin on LBC’s annual Shave for a Cure event – by raising funds to shave their locks or dye them a new funky colour such as lime green, aqua blue, sunshine yellow and hot pink. The team at Napier PwC (who raised over $10,000) were competing in a nationwide ‘Shave for a Cure’ rivalry between branches of PwC and branches of Bell Gully, which has raised over $60,000 for LBC. For more information visit


Spring into Summer Fashion Show a sell out

The annual ‘Spring into Summer’ fashion show and concert, hosted by Quota International of Rotorua, was a complete sell out in 2017 with all 180 tickets sold and $6,000 raised for LBC. Thank you to Robyn Ward and her committee for making this event possible.


Hundreds of trucks, thousands of dollars, one great cause

The Ashburton Truck Show, held at the Ashburton Showgrounds on 4 November, raised a fantastic $12,000 for LBC. Rescheduled from September because of poor weather conditions, the funds raised were from truckies displaying their rigs, gate fees from the public and an evening auction.


New Christchurch office now open

We are delighted to announce the opening of our new Christchurch office, located at 20 Cashel Street. The office will host the local Support Services team, and will also be used to host support groups for patients and carers.

Monkey In My Chair

An innovative new programme designed to keep young leukaemia and blood cancer patients connected to their classmates while they undergo treatment is now available to LBC families in New Zealand.

The Monkey in My Chair programme has proven to be a very successful therapeutic resource overseas. We are excited to be able to bring the programme to New Zealand to help keep young patients, teachers and classmates connected in a really positive, supportive and compassionate way.

The Monkey in My Chair kit comes with two adorable fluffy monkeys plus a range of educational books, teacher guides and LBC resources.

When a young person is away from school, the bigger of the two monkeys sits in the student’s chair, while the smaller monkey keeps the patient company while they are missing their friends at school.

When a child is diagnosed, treatment often starts right away and this can lead to absences from school which can be unsettling for the patient, their classmates and teacher.

Classmates are encouraged to include the big monkey in lessons and send messages and news to their friend using Monkey’s bright yellow backpack.

LBC’s support services staff will work with a patient’s parents and school to use the kits in a way which is easy, fun and helpful for everyone involved.

LBC gratefully acknowledges The Cure Starts Now Foundation in Australia for enabling it to bring Monkey In My Chair to families in New Zealand.