Former resident launching new charity
FORMER Wilsons Creek resident Ash Mackinnon is launching a new charity aimed at raising money and awareness for Cyberknife cancer treatment machines.
Cyberknife is a form of cancer treatment that uses precisely targeted beams of high-dose radiation to treat cancerous and non-cancerous tumours.
The Cyberknife website describes the treatment as non-invasive with no unpleasant side effects.
Mr MacKinnon said he hoped to raise enough through the charity to install a Cyberknife machine in every state and territory.
"We're going to be working with governments and fundraising ourselves," Mr MacKinnon said.
The technology was previously not available in Australia, but after much campaigning, the first machine was installed in the WA Cancer Centre in Perth in April.
Mr MacKinnon said some cancer patients couldn't travel overseas or interstate.
After losing his wife to cancer in 2006, the father of two dedicated the past eight years to helping Australian cancer patients access Cyberknife treatment in Malaysia, the UK, the USA and the Netherlands.
Mr Mackinnon said his wife, Leah Chapman, might have survived had she had access to Cyberknife earlier.
They travelled to the US to have Cyberknife treatment on Ms Chapman's brain tumours. She passed away from chemotherapy-related liver failure six months later.
"The good thing about Cyberknife is it can treat many inoperable cancers, and that's what we found with Leah," he said. "The doctors (in Australia) said this is just too difficult. 'We might be able to get 95% of it, but what's the point of getting 95% of something if it's just going to grow back'."
Mr MacKinnon said Cyberknife gave doctors and patients a "menu" of options for treating cancer.
The charity would be called the Chapman Mac-kinnon Cyberknife Cancer charity in honour of Leah.