Cancer patient Bob Merrell says Orange’s Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) saved him from ‘death’s door’ | West Central Daily


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Twelve months ago, Bob Merrell was, in his own words, “at death’s door”. The 76-year-old man from Orange had been diagnosed with colon cancer a few months earlier and doctors at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney had told him the tumors were growing so rapidly that they would not could do nothing for him. Back home, he spoke with Dr. Rob Zielinski, medical oncologist and director of the Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) at Orange Health Service. Established in 2017, CTU conducts trials of new drugs, saving local cancer patients the hassle of traveling to Sydney. He was offered and accepted a place in a clinical trial of a new chemotherapy drug. Seven months later, Mr Merrell has seen a huge change in his health. “I went from virtual radiation to 37% on my cancer markers, which is absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “I do blood tests and cancer markers every two months and so far it’s going great.” “I’ll still be a few years old.” Mr. Merrell’s voice fills with emotion as he talks about CTU staff. “The help and the people there. You have no idea.” Mr Merrell says it is also hugely gratifying to know that being part of the trial could help others. “If this succeeds, many lives will be saved.” To show their support for CTU and Mr. Merrell (longtime member and past president of the Orange Lapidary and Mineral Club), Lapidary Club member Pam Montgomery and her husband Ross will be hosting a fundraiser in their backyard. at Lidster Saturday 26th March. Tormaline Park at 1134 Cargo Rd will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visitors can stroll through their award-winning water garden that spans four acres. Admission is $10 and morning and afternoon tea will be available for $5. All funds raised are donated to the Cruisin’ Along Trek, an annual road trip by the Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak in support of CTU. Last year’s Trek raised $60,000 for the unit. The money will help fund additional staff for CTU, allowing more trials to open and more patients like Mr Merrell to be involved in potentially life-prolonging therapies. To read more stories, download the Central Western Daily news app from the Apple Store or Google Play. TELL ME Send a letter to the editor using the form below:



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