Nick Auden has one chance left to live. The 40-year-old Denver resident and dad of three has been suffering from melanoma since March 2010, and he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer about a year and a half later.
His last chance for survival at this point is a drug that’s part of a clinical trial that has the potential to help his immune system by shrinking his tumors permanently, according to Yahoo News. The problem is that when he was admitted to the trial in early July, a health complication got him immediately disqualified, which means his last shot at staying alive is shot — his doctor told his wife that he has three to six months to live.
However, his wife isn’t giving up hope. She started a social media campaign, Save Locky’s Dad, to get signatures on a petition so the drug companies Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb would allow him to be treated with one of their anti-PD-1 cancer drugs. The campaign includes a heartbreaking video featuring Auden’s 7-year-old son Lachlan (“Locky”) as well as a Change.org petition, which has more than a quarter of a million signatures
Auden is still remaining active, doing things like mountain biking, despite his diagnosis — and despite the fact that tumors that keep sprouting up. His family remains hopeful that one of the drug companies will let him have access to the medication, which helped 38% of participants in one clinical trial see their tumors shrink.
The Auden family is eager for the drug companies to consider him under “compassionate-use rules,” “which give people access to experimental drugs even if they don’t fit into clinical trials,” according to Yahoo News.
However, in a statement to ABC News, Merck said: “Merck cares deeply about helping patients who face significant treatment challenges, and we are dedicated to making our medicines available to all patients as soon as possible. That is why we have moved our PD-1 program forward faster than any other research program in nearly 20 years, and we have accelerated production.”
Which is all well and good — unless you’re Auden’s wife or children, who just need and want the crucial drug’s gatekeepers to recognize that their accelerated production is probably not fast enough to keep up with their beloved’s rapidly diminishing and precious life. Here’s hoping these drug companies will look beyond statistics and look instead at the faces of a beautiful family who are in need of accelerated help on an even speedier timeline.
Photo credit: Save Locky’s Dad
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