Be careful what you wish for…
…you just might get it.
It’s been a pretty overwhelming week.
I got a phone call on Tuesday morning, about 8am, from a man I have had the pleasure of coming to know over the past few months. He’s been so supportive of me and my attempts to get our government to list Erbitux on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. He told me he didn’t want to get my hopes up but he’d heard a rumour that today might bring the good news we’d been waiting for.
Sure enough, at 9am he called me back. The federal government had committed $200 million dollars to subsidise Erbitux and a number of other drugs for the thousands of Australians in desperate need of them.
Complete about face.
As of September 1st, 2011, Erbitux will cost $35.50 a week instead of $2,000 a week.
The cynics and the critics might say all they hear is wasted money, but I hear hope. I hear the collective sigh of relief from 2,000 Australians who could not afford Erbitux, who could not afford to fight for their lives. People just. like. me. Giving it all they’ve got and then some.
It was all over the news, how that guy that had cancer that made that video that was on Oprah who had been campaigning to get his drug on the PBS had…. won. And there were photo’s and interviews and front pages and lots of smiles…. and some tears, too.
But you need to know that while it may have been my face on the TV and in the newspapers, it wasn’t just because of me that all this happened. There are people that would probably not think twice about seeking recognition for the role they played, and that’s exactly why they deserve it.
That man I told you about earlier? Chris Reason, Channel 7 journalist. From the beginning, took my voice and made it louder. I trust him. He listened.
The Sunrise program on 7, The Today Show on 9, Mornings with Kerry Anne Kennerley, 6pm with George Negus, Alan Jones at Radio 2GB… the man whose tongue can start fires, Jason Morrison, Radio 2UE, the crew at Hope 103.2fm, The Manly Daily, The Sydney Morning Herald, and of course, my mates on the Grill Team at Triple M…. the people that started this wild ride by passing my request on to Hugh Jackman.
Carolyn Coulton, who guided me through the minefield with grace and outstanding professionalism…. and Russel Crowe…. for words whispered in my ear late one night before Christmas. When Maximus speaks… you listen.
Oprah… who, by taking the time to care about us, gave me a platform to stand on whereby I could be taken seriously by the decision makers of our nation.
And… all of you… who support me here with letters of kindness and encouragement. Not a day goes by that I don’t look up and see the outstretched arm of a stranger, lifting me out of the mud with the kindest of words, the most compassionate of hearts. All of you who added your own voice to mine…. thank you.
And to Heaven…. to my God…. who has brought me here for such a time as this for reasons I cannot possibly begin to understand…. be it unto me according to your will.
I know what it means to say those words… and I am not afraid.