Cancer care petition handed over at 'Blair's Final Farewell'

A Southland family has officially handed over its petition for a National Cancer Agency at a special ceremony in Invercargill.

Winton man, Blair Vining, who has terminal bowel cancer, has collected more than 140,000 signatures and there's still a week to go before the petition closes.  

Collected over two months, the signatures were carried in a suitcase and presented to National's Health Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse. 

The 38-year-old father of two was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in October last year - and given just two months to live. 

He and wife Melissa decided to use the time he had left to fight for better cancer care for all New Zealanders, launching the petition in May.  

"Obviously it's too late to help Blair, but the thought of achieving a national cancer agency and better cancer care for all New Zealanders will mean that his suffering and many other people's suffering was not for nothing," she said. 

On Saturday night hundreds of people gathered in Invercargill for an event called 'Blair's Final Farewell', where the Vining family handed over the petition.. 

National's Michael Woodhouse and Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker will now take it to Parliament. 

"I think it's a magnificent achievement and I think it behoves the Parliament and the health select committee to take the petition very seriously," said Woodhouse.

Health Minister David Clark said the ministry has now produced an interim cancer action plan.

He will now take time to consider it before releasing it for consultation with the cancer care sector and the public.

As for Blair Vining's next goal, he wants to see his daughters turn 13 and 18 in the coming months. 

"Obviously they're potentially unrealistic goals but that's what Blair's going to try and hold on for," said Melissa Vining.

The cut off for online signatures has been extended until the 7th of July.