When Blair Vining was diagnosed with cancer last year and was told he had only 6 to 8 weeks to live without any treatment, he was advised that it would take 8 weeks for him to get his first oncologist appointment. It was the efforts of his persistent wife Melissa Vining and 19 calls later for him to be put into a private sector and to be worked on by Dr. Chris Jackson in Dunedin with the treatment process starting in the first three weeks.
During Blair's time within the public health center, he could overhear doctors outside his room talking about his inoperable status, on top of this he also had an infected IV line as the procedure was not followed through.
During the first three weeks of treatment with Dr. Chris Jackson, Blair was told it was beginning to work and he was given an additional three months to live, so Blair Vining created a special bucket list. This isn't your bucket list consisting of bungee jumps and skydiving, it's a bucket list that aims to get better cancer treatment for all New Zealanders and a fund that gives children in a rural town the chance and funding to excel in the sport.
Credit: Kavinda Herath
First on his bucket list was to play one last game of rugby with his friends. He created the Blair Vining Foundation and hosted a rugby match in Winton to fundraise. It was a great success with over 4,000 people and a few current and former All Blacks attend to show support. The fund currently has over $150,000 and is already being put to use to help boost the sporting skills of Central Southland College kids through training, coaching, and gym memberships.
Credit: Kavinda Herath
Blair is currently in the process of ticking off his biggest goal on his bucket list. After first hand experiencing the poor cancer treatment, Blair is fighting to get the government to put an actual cancer care plan in place, so others New Zealanders don't suffer the same fate.
Between 500 to 800 New Zealanders die each year from cancer. This number could be avoided if we had swifter treatment after diagnosis and a better plan in place. Blair's goal is for the Government to set up a national cancer agency to deliver world-class cancer care in order to reduce the large death toll aims for better care towards people undergoing cancer treatment.
Blair, his wife Melissa, and Dr. Chris Jackson went to parliament and spoke about their journey and the poor cancer service that they received.
"You have failed Blair, you have failed me and my children, and you have failed many other New Zealanders by not having a cancer plan", Melissa stated.
Blair is no longer interested in talking and is pushing the government to begin acting now. There is currently a petition going that will be presented to the government for better cancer care for all New Zealanders and he is calling out to all of Aotearoa to support this cause and sign the petition.
Blair Vining is not only fighting for his life but he is fighting for the lives of every New Zealander in hopes to get a cancer plan in place.
Click here to take 5 minutes out of your day to fulfill one dying man's wish and change the future of New Zealand.
Listen to the interview, by The Garage Breakfast Show here: