Daryl's Heidelberg Hope
It only seems like yesterday that a few of us sat down at breakfast with our close friend Daryl back in January at a small coffee shop in Vancouver – although clearly sick, Daryl had his perennial tan, possessed the usual twinkle in his eyes and demonstrated a burning desire to beat his cancer, or at a minimum, kick out enough space so that he had time to enjoy watching his family grow for a few more years – all to say, he was one of the boys, and life continued to be great, albeit precarious. To the balance of us at the table, it was always both amazing and inspiring to watch and be part of it. Aggressive metastasized prostate cancer was ravaging his body, but his fight and his spirit were fully in tact and on display once again. Of course for me, it was a familiar journey!
The simple question at breakfast of “What can we do to help?” has morphed into the building of what will promise to be one of the great undertakings within our community and turn what we termed Daryl’s Heidelberg Hope into Daryl’s Heidelberg Legacy – Daryl unfortunately passed away this past weekend.
We have all been impressed beyond expression with Daryl’s resolve to beat his cancer, but alas, the cumulative affect of so many different attempts to battle back the flames over the past three years finally enveloped his body. Not lost to the very last minute though was his positive attitude, dignity, insightfulness, introspection and self-deprecating humour.
Daryl’s legacy will result in introducing an emerging treatment for aggressive prostate cancer into the North American market. This particular treatment, which has been limited to “compassionate care” cases (terminal) in Germany has had tremendous efficacy rates, and our team goal is to raise the requisite dollars sufficient to conduct the first ever two clinical trials, and right here in British Columbia. As of this writing, and with two anonymous and direct gifts, we have raised over $1,500,000!
Daryl for those who knew him was always the smartest guy at the table – few will contest that. And Daryl not only believed in the Heidelberg Hope, but he had measurably positive results when he went to Germany in May for his first treatment. The doctors post-treatment confirmed the material shrinkage in his tumours (riddled throughout his body); and laymen such as myself could see it – example: before he went to Germany, his eyesight was significantly marginalized to the point where Daryl was wearing an eye patch; a tumour in his neck was placing pressure on his optic nerve. He was able to remove the patch and returned to normal eyesight shortly after his return to Vancouver, as the pressure was no longer on his nerve – the tumour had shrunk!
The second treatment, which was scheduled for July 10th, was expected to have a more dramatic and positive impact on Daryl’s cancer. Unfortunately, former and unsuccessful treatments conspired against Daryl and Joanna before receiving the benefit of further treatment.
Brief background: Aptly named Daryl’s Heidelberg Hope, this is a new treatment developed in Germany that has had tremendous efficacy rates as indicated above. 75% of metastasized prostate patients who were given two to four months to live were not only alive six months after receiving the treatment, but their tumours had shrunk and they had lower levels of PSMA in their blood.
In layman’s terms, the treatment is a radiopharmaceutical that is injected by IV. The IV is loaded with a radioactive element (Lutetium) that has been chemically bound to a certain antibody. This combination, upon injection, circulates throughout the body attaching itself to cancer cells and killing them. Perhaps most encouraging, this treatment kills cancer cells wherever they reside – the bones, lymph nodes, soft tissue organs or simply in the bloodstream. Daryl suffered from three of these four indications.
Articles indicate that this treatment has a median durability of 13.7 months. We can provide articles and appropriate links for those interested in learning more.
We have met with Sarah Roth, CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation and Dr. Francois Benard, head of Research at the BC Cancer Agency a number of times over the past six months. We have their full commitment (this will be a collaboration with BCCA, VGH and UBC), a defined budget (approx. $4.5mm) with deliverables and a timeline. The intent is to start two clinical trials towards the end of the year..
The Ride to Conquer Cancer will be August 26 and 27th from Vancouver to Seattle, but the race begins today. Last year, it was just me and Morgan – this year, we already have over 35 riders and growing!
Daryl knew that the Heidelberg Hope was never just about Daryl, and he wanted to be the one to make the change for the benefit of the rest of us who will inevitably be faced with the same risk of prostate cancer – and he has made that change!
But the baton has now been passed to me, and everyone else on our team! And we will make this happen!
Thanks for taking the time to get all the way through this message - we would love your support by donating!
Regards / xoxo, Alex
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