Terminal cancer sufferer hands over national cancer agency petition

On Saturday night, a petition will be handed over to National Party health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse calling for a better way to help cancer sufferers in this country.

The petition has been launched by Blair Vining, who's suffering from terminal bowel cancer. He's calling for a national cancer agency, and he's had a lot of help. 

Two weeks ago, his daughter, 12-year-old Southlander Lilly Vining, wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister.

In the letter that's been shared thousands of times on social media, she made a heartfelt plea to Jacinda Ardern to set up a national cancer agency to help people like her Dad.

"It shouldn't matter where you live in New Zealand or whether your rich or poor," she wrote.

"Anyone with cancer should be able to receive the best possible care."

On Saturday, Lilly's mum Melissa confirming they've had a response in the form of a handwritten letter from Ardern.

"It was very personable. Lilly was very thrilled to receive it and it acknowledged there is a greater need for cancer care," she says.

Blair Vining was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in October last year and given just eight weeks to live. 

The Winton father-of-two was told he'd have to wait six to eight weeks to even see an oncologist. Vining was forced to go private so he could get treatment.

So in May he launched a petition calling for a national cancer agency to improve cancer care for other New Zealanders - collecting tens of thousands of signatures from all over the country.

On Saturday night, some of those petitions will be handed over at a ceremony in Invercargill at an event called 'Blair's final farewell' - a night to honour a man who's battling for change while enduring the fight of his life.