Melanoma patients say government's announcement doesn't go far enough

The government is giving Pharmac an extra $39 million allowing funding for the melanoma drug Opdivo. Source: 1 NEWS

'It's gut-wrenching. It's cruel': Thank you Jeff and Anita for sharing your story with me

There are days when your assigned story picks you up, throws you into an emotional blender and sends you home a changed person.

Yesterday was one of those days. 

The morning sun shone as we hit the road to Henderson.

Cameraman Phil and I were off to meet Jeff.

Jeff Paterson is a smart young man.

He taught himself to play the guitar when he was just 7.

Now he's 22 and studying architecture.

The potentially life-saving drug Opdivo comes as patients await a decision on whether Pharmac will fund Keytruda. Source: 1 NEWS

Well, he was studying, his sights set on a Masters of Architecture, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

It was removed but another even bigger one grew back within weeks.

He now has yet another tumour growing at the back of his skull, pressing on the parts of the brain that control hearing, taste and balance.

The BRAF gene runs in Jeff’s family.

It's a gene linked to higher rates of malignant cancers like melanoma.

Jeff learned this week his melanoma is spreading.

Scans have detected at least eight inoperable tumours in his lungs.

He's exhausted, he's stressed, he needs help and he needs it fast.

Jeff's family has already spent $44,000 on drugs to keep the cancer at bay.

If you'd like to help Jeff, go to his Givealittle page.

His mum, Anita, has given up work to support her son.

She too is stressed out and perpetually worried.

Anita's life revolves around care and trying to raise money that's desperately needed for immunotherapy drugs that can attack the aggressive cancer.

The funding of immunotherapy drugs here, and the plight of patients like Jeff, have dominated media for months now.

We've heard the arguments, the pros and cons and the debates about efficacy. 

We've watched desperate families petition Parliament and share stories of funding treatment they simply can't afford.

It's gut-wrenching. It's cruel. It's totally heart-breaking.

Thank you Jeff and Anita for sharing your story with me.

You are so brave, determined and incredibly calm in the face of adversity.

Thank goodness there was news from Pharmac today.

I am off to buy a Lotto ticket with your names on it, just in case.


Video: Joyous Newshub stars roll out the booze after CEO's resignation

Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts carried a load of alcohol into the TV3 building today after the resignation of Mediaworks CEO Mark Weldon last night.

Weldon has seen a flood of talent leave the broadcaster since he joined the company in 2014. Source: 1 NEWS

Speaking to reporters outside, Ms Barry said she couldn't really make any comment, but smiled and made a peace sign as Mr McRoberts fought to contain his grin.

Mr Weldon resigned last night amid a storm of criticism which came following Barry's resignation after 23 years with the company.

Mr Weldon, who was previously the NZX chief executive, said he notified the board last night of his decision, saying the "personal cost is now too high to continue in this role".

Ms Barry was the latest high-profile name to leave the broadcaster, with John Campbell leaving in May last year when Campbell Live was axed.

Former Mediaworks employees have taken to social media today to voice their opinions on the departure of Mr Weldon, with most highly critical of his performance and seemingly glad to see him go.

One of his few public suporters was the "founder, co-owner and editor-in-chief of Mediaworks NZ's multi-platform entertainment brand", Rachel Glucina, who called him "visionary & inspiring".