Petition wants cancer-treatment decision changed

Meila Davis’ grandmother Sandy Gibbons presents a petition to Act New Zealand’s Todd Stephenson ...
Meila Davis’ grandmother Sandy Gibbons presents a petition to Act New Zealand’s Todd Stephenson (centre) and leader David Seymour in Wellington on Tuesday. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
A petition to enable a Queenstown girl to access potentially life-saving treatment has been presented to Parliament.

Meila Davis, 12, is being recommended EnGeneIC Dream Vector (EDV), an experimental treatment, but she has been denied access to it by Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora (HNZ), which has not permitted its use in a public setting.

Meila Davis.
Meila Davis.
Meila was diagnosed with terminal osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, last June. Subsequent treatment in Christchurch was not successful and she has now started being treated with oral chemotherapy, which is working, for now.

Her family has been fighting to enable Meila to access EDV - she is unable to have it administered privately because there are not any paediatric oncologists operating in private, nor are there any adult oncologists prepared to administer it due to her age.

Taking matters into her own hands, Meila’s mum, Kristin, started the petition on Sunday, pleading with the government to reconsider that position.

It was presented to Act New Zealand leader David Seymour and Act’s health spokesman, Queenstown’s Todd Stephenson, by Meila’s grandmother, Sandy Gibbons, in Wellington on Tuesday.

Mr Stephenson said he had been aware of Meila’s case for some time "and have been doing what I can to assist the family".

"I have now referred the petition to Parliament’s petitions committee, which reviews petitions and can make recommendations on any law or policy changes it wishes to see, or actions it believes the government should take.

"We have also ensured the Minister of Health is aware of Meila’s situation and are hopeful that a common-sense solution can be found.

"I remain interested in how this progresses and will assist as I can," Mr Stephenson said.

Ms Gibbons said Mr Seymour and Mr Stephenson were "amazing" when she handed the petition over, and "really seemed to care about how Meila was doing".

Given Meila was not the only child who could benefit from EDV, she was hoping the petition could be "a voice for other children suffering".

"What I don’t understand is why [HNZ] are letting kids go through chemotherapy, which is 40 years old, targeting every cell in their body - including healthy cells - and making them suffer.

"Every time Meila goes through it, Kristin has to sign a piece of paper saying this could potentially kill her."

HNZ has been approached for comment, but could not respond by deadline.

• A Givealittle page has been set up to help finance Meila’s ongoing treatment costs - to give, visit 

• To sign the petition, visit