NZ Patient With Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma Fundraising to Travel to US For Treatment

According to a story from stuff.co.nz., Janelle Brunton-Rennie and Kurt Brunton were celebrating their third wedding anniversary this past January. Little did they know that the next day, their lives would change forever when Kurt was diagnosed with stage 4 diffuse large B cell lymphoma. At such an advanced stage, the cancer is not responding to conventional treatment. In a last ditch effort, the couple will travel to the US so that Kurt can receive more advanced treatment.

About Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects B lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies. It is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but is still considered rare over all. The cause of this disease is not well understood. Diffuse large B cell lymphoma can arise from B cells that were otherwise normal before, but it can also evolve from other types of lymphoma or leukemia. Prior immunodeficiency or infection with the Epstein-Barr virus are also potential risk factors. Treatment for this cancer may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. The five year survival rate for this cancer is 58 percent in the US. To learn more about diffuse large B cell lymphoma, click here.

The Last Resort

Their doctors were very up-front with the couple when delivering the news: this was not good. Any cancer at this advanced stage is going to be a challenge to treat effectively. After his poor response to chemotherapy, Janelle began doing some research and learned about a targeted CAR-T therapy treatment that could save his life. However, this treatment is only available in the US.

CAR-T therapy works by extracting immune T-cells from the patient’s body, modifying them to attack tumor cells, and then putting them back into the patient’s body. While this treatment can be effective, it also comes with some safety concerns, such as the development of cytokine release syndrome. The treatment is also extremely expensive. Kurt and Janelle have a massive medical bill to the tune of $1.5 million.

Hopefully, this effort will be able to stop Kurt’s diffuse large B cell lymphoma. If you would like to donate to support their medical expenses, click here.


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