A clinical trial gave me life | Leukaemia Foundation

A clinical trial gave me life


Danny Widdicombe is reminded every day how lucky he is to be alive.

Now a proud father of two young children, Danny Widdicombe’s leukaemia diagnosis when he was just 19 years old seems a lifetime ago. He attributes his survival, and the ability to have children, to a clinical trial he participated in more than 10 years ago that was testing a new drug.

“The last 20 years have been a whirlwind of highs and lows. I’ve enjoyed a fantastic music career, married my beautiful wife, Carolyn, and become a dad,” Danny said.

“I have also battled leukaemia.”

Clinical trials ensure potential new treatments and drugs are safe and effective. Although there are many promising blood cancer clinical trials operating all around the world, unfortunately only a small proportion of them are available in Australia because of the high costs associated with bringing them here.

A life-changing clinical trial

Danny took part in a clinical trial in 1997 – a life-changing decision for the Brisbane musician.

“I have no doubt I am alive today because of treatments made available to me through clinical trials,” he said.

“I was included in a trial for a new drug called Glivec. It changed my life.

“Glivec stabilised my leukaemia and allowed me to delay a bone marrow transplant that would have taken away my chance of ever having children. I became the proudest man alive in 2001 when my beautiful boy, Oliver, was born, and later my joy was doubled with the arrival of my daughter, India.

“I went on to have my transplant and I was able to spend wonderful times with my family and get on with my music career. My leukaemia reared its head again in 2011, although it’s under control now thanks to other new treatments.

“I love every second I spend with my family and the clinical trial has given me those moments.”

Unique new initiative

Every day, 31 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer and we want to ensure patients like Danny have access to the very best treatments available in the most cost effective way.

It’s why we’ve launched our Trials Enabling Program – a unique initiative that will help give patients the opportunity to participate in internationally-led clinical trials, without the huge associated costs of leaving the country.

Last updated on December 11th, 2019

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.

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