Andre very grateful for support

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By Mick Jensen

Former Mid Canterbury tennis coach Andre Van Rooyen has been overwhelmed by the community support since his cancer diagnosis and is responding well to his early drug treatment.

He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer at the beginning of May and has the Ros 1 mutation, which is found in just 1 per cent of cases.

Mr Van Rooyen is now nearing the end of his second month taking anti-cancer drug crizotinib. The drug costs in the region of $10,000 per month.

A Givealittle page to help fund the cost of the drug was set up in June and has received close to $30,000 in pledges. The page has an open goal and has received 234 donations to date.

Andrew Van Rooyen said he had been responding well to the drug and was feeling stronger and more energetic every day.

He was due to have a scan locally in five weeks and would then look at the results with his oncologist to get a more accurate assessment of his condition.

Mr Van Rooyen recently applied to Pfizer, the Pharmaceutical corporation in the USA, to grant a discount for crizotinib, but was unsuccessful.

He is hopeful approval may be given later in the year.

“Right now my wife Debbie and I and our two children are just really grateful to the community for its support.

“It’s not just the tennis community, but also the wider community – the support has been humbling.”

He said he hoped that support would continue over the coming months.

Two upcoming fundraising initiatives for Andre include a breakfast event on September 12 and an auction evening, with a date still to be confirmed.

The Mid Canterbury Tennis Centre will host the breakfast from 7am until to 8.30am. To book, text or email Nina (ninathevet@nullgmail.com or 0220706936).