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Inspirational Melbourne dad Nick Auden, the focus of the worldwide Save Locky’s Dad campaign, has sadly died in the United States as a result of stage 4 melanoma.
The 41-year-old father of three had been campaigning for access to a trial medicine, known as anti-PD-1, which is currently being tested by pharmaceutical companies Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).
Two weeks ago, as the disease progressed and Nick failed to gain access to the potentially life-saving drug, he flew to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, with his wife Amy for a last-ditch, experimental treatment (TIL Therapy). They hoped it would stave off the cancer’s progress until he got anti-PD-1.
Sadly, Nick was admitted to intensive care a week ago during the course of the treatment. He was flown to his Denver home on Tuesday via air ambulance to spend a last, precious, few days with his three beloved children, Locky (7), Hayley (5) and Evan (1). He died on Friday, November 22 (United States time).
His wife Amy paid tribute to her husband.
“He never stopped fighting and never stopped believing he would conquer this absolutely horrendous disease.”
Nick and his family moved to Denver, Colorado in 2011, with his company Orica. Shortly after arriving in the US, Nick was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. The prognosis for stage 4 melanoma sufferers is poor, however the new ‘wonder drug’ known as anti-PD-1, in final trials by both Merck and BMS, carries great hope for advanced melanoma sufferers. Nick repeatedly failed to meet the trial criteria, however in July this year Nick qualified for an anti-PD-1 trial and was given a possible lifeline. Later that same night he experienced abdominal pains and was diagnosed with a partial bowel obstruction, which disqualified him from the trial.
Nick’s wife Amy then set about campaigning for her husband to receive the trial drug on a single-use compassionate basis, outside of trial conditions. The Save Locky’s Dad campaign was launched in August this year and, within six weeks, more than half a million people worldwide had signed the change.org petition pleading with Merck and BMS to give Nick the drug. The campaign attracted support from cancer experts, politicians, prominent Australians, the US Federal Drug Administration, celebrities and the general public around the world. Nick and Locky, passionate Hawks fans, even drew support from Hawthorn Football Club during its successful 2013 Premiership season.
Amy hopes that Nick’s campaign can make a difference in the future for others in this heartbreaking position. She says the law must change to compel drug companies to provide compassionate access to potentially life-saving medicines in late phase trials.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of people who supported our campaign and our family. It meant so much to Nick and myself. While we were not successful in convincing either Merck or BMS to provide anti-PD-1, I sincerely hope that the campaign is a catalyst for much-needed change in the attitude of all large pharmaceutical companies with potentially life- saving drugs”. 

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