Tonight, I launched the Jode Mathews Cancer & Family Appeal at the Brisbane Skeptics Society’s Brisbane Skepticamp at the Hamilton Town Hall.
This is a vitally important campaign and one I hope all my readers will support – whether by donating or by promoting it to your networks.
Here is the text of my short speech.
“Those of us in the sceptical and secular communities hear a lot of bullshit that we are not as charitable as Christians, that we are selfish, unethical and immoral because of our lack of religious faith.
All evidence is to the contrary and non-believers are increasingly joining together to form charitable groups and organisations .
We are great supporters of causes, and I’ve seen many instances where individuals in need find support through our various online communities.
Tonight, I’m here to launch an appeal for a member of our Queensland community of skeptics and freethinkers. Jode Matthews and her husband, Adam, were founding members of the Sunshine Coast Atheists. Jode provided editing assistance on Warren Bonett’s The Australian Book of Atheism.
Jode and Adam are skeptics, humanists and atheists. They care about the issues we care about. They move in the circles we move in. They have put their hands in their pockets to support the causes we support. They are contributing members of our online community.
Adam is a cancer survivor. He battled cancer for 13 years before going into remission 10 years ago. Now, Jode, who is just 46 years old, has Stage 4b metastatic cervical cancer. Despite chemo and radiation, the disease is spreading to her other organs. It’s as serious as it gets and, frankly, without some extra intervention, Jode’s prognosis isn’t good.
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But there is hope. There’s a drug called Avastin which may extend Jode’s life expectancy. Trouble is, it’s about $20,000 per course. The Matthews don’t have that kind of money.
Jode’s cancer may even go into remission if she can access a drug called Nivolumab. It’s showing great results in the treatment of melanoma and lung cancer and the Yale Medical School is now trialing it for use on patients with cervical cancer. Jode can apply to enter the trial, but if she’s accepted, she’ll have to travel to the US and stay there for an extended period. The Matthews have had an awful run of one financial disaster after another and they simply can’t afford that option.
I think we can help. That’s why Danny Jarman, vice-president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, Ron Williams, president of the Humanist Society of Queensland and I have set up the Jode Matthews Cancer & Family Appeal.
I don’t have a lot of time tonight, but you can read all about Jode’s story and the Appeal on our website: www.jodematthewsappeal.com
We also have a Facebook page. Please find it and like it.
We already have the support of some of Australia’s leading sceptical and secular organisations. Now, we need your help in spreading the word about this appeal and, if you can afford it, making a donation – however small.
The success of this appeal depends on the networking power of our sceptical and secular communities. It’s true, we don’t have the organizational structures or financial resources of religious groups, but we have a strong, well-connected, international community and with your help we can make a damned good stab at saving Jode Matthews’ life.
We all know that skeptics and atheists OWN the internet.
And, you know, when prayer doesn’t cut it, practical people pitch in.
To donate to the Jode Matthews Cancer & Family Appeal, please visit the appeal page at: www.jodematthewsappeal.com