A plan to create a charity hospital in Southland begins on Wednesday.
It’s the project of Blair and Melissa Vining – who have been fighting for better cancer care.
Blair, a Southland man suffering from terminal bowel cancer, has been campaigning to change the system with the time he has left.
His wife Melissa told The AM Show on Wednesday they want to end the postcode lottery for health care.
The couple has campaigned for all New Zealanders living with cancer to have access to high-quality care no matter who they are or where they live.
Canterbury Charity Hospital co-founder Phillip Bagshaw says Southland has pressing needs, particularly in bowel cancer.
“We met with Dr Phil Bagshaw, and we’re really inspired by what he’s delivering in Canterbury with their charity hospital, and he agreed to mentor us,” Melissa told The AM Show.
Bagshaw said he has high hopes for the charity hospital and is optimistic the project will get off the ground.
“Not the screening, but looking with people with symptoms of bowel cancer,” he told Newshub.
“I think there’s a very good chance of it,” he said. “They’re highly motivated people, and I think they’re the sort of community that get behind things too.”
A meeting on Wednesday night will include local businesses, and doctors and nurses interested in the project.
“I think they start with that they’ll be able to get some runs on the board, and they can build up from there,” Bagshaw told Newshub.
“I think there are a lot of people who want to volunteer and want to help, and they don’t really have the opportunity.
“A place like this gives them the opportunity to actually help.”
It was announced earlier this month Pharmac would get a major funding boost and a new national cancer agency will be set up under long-awaited Government plans to help cancer sufferers.
Blair Vining ran a petition calling for an independent national cancer agency which racked up almost 150,000 signatures.