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'Too many people dying' - rugby player with terminal illness puts helping create national cancer plan on bucket list

A Southland man with terminal cancer has one large item left on his bucket list - to see a national cancer plan launched so the lives of others can be saved.

Blair Vining, a life member of the Midlands Rugby Club in Winton, created a bucket list almost immediately after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October, TVNZ1's Seven Sharp reports 

The first item was a game of rugby with his mates which was held early this year, and drew a huge turnout of spectators. 

Last weekend, Blair put on the boots one last time to take on the New Zealand Parliament team in a charity match in Queenstown. 

The day was all about raising money for tiny Garston Primary School, and for the Blair Vining Sports Foundation which aims to give central Southland kids the chance to achieve their sporting dreams within their own community.

Blair said he now wants to make sure his daughters and the rest of New Zealand will be looked after with a national cancer plan.

"And that way we can start saving people's lives because that's what it's all about. There's just too many people dying before they can get treated," he said.

He said the backlog of cancer patients waiting for treatment is not good enough and needs to change.

Blair's wife, Melissa Vining, has so far helped him tick off every item on his bucket list, and she vows to fight on his behalf to see a national cancer plan developed.

"We've been living through this. I'm equally as committed as Blair and I really hope that we can tick this off Blair's list while he can see it. And if we don't, I'll carry on and fight and do whatever I can to tick that off Blair's list for him and on his behalf," Melissa said.

She said Blair has not once been down about his diagnosis or felt sorry for himself.

And that's clear from the man himself.

"It's the hand that I've been dealt and I can't change that. But I can change how I go out," he said.

Blair may be hanging up the boots for good after the weekend game, but you can bet he'll be kicking more goals before full-time is finally called. 

So does he feel like a hero?

"Not at all. Just a normal bloke. Just a normal bloke just going out on my own terms and having fun doing it," he replied.

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Blair Vining’s an ordinary Kiwi bloke with an extraordinary story Source: Seven Sharp


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