9 January, 2014 9 January, 2014

Kick Cancer’s Butt – Jess Nicholson Fundraiser

A year ago the Durban and SA surf community were hit with the news that Simon Nicholson’s wife, Jess, had been diagnosed with cancer. An MRI scan revealed the development of a tumour in her brain, and it was going to take a lot of strength and money to kick its butt out of there.

#jessgetwellsoon – Mikey February rallies in support of the Nicholson’s

The surf community came together in a big way, hosting auctions and donating funds to show them the kind of support that they never dreamed possible. A year and a number of leukaemia treatments later all was looking well for the Nicholson family. They fought hard and Jess fought the hardest. The brain tumour looked to have been defeated. Just one more visit to the doc was left to get the all clear and their lives would be back to normal.

Unfortunately that fairytale ending will have to wait a little longer. Cancer is a dirty fighter and has been known to bounce back harder than it has been knocked down. After another MRI scan the doc gave them the news that there had been a regrowth. Heavy news, but news that Jess has taken well and is ready to carry on with the fight.

But with the new growth, as Simon explains, comes new costs. Sims sent us an update of the new situation they are facing and how grateful they are for the generosity already shown.

Read Simon’s update below and follow the links to the website fundraiser and a raffle that Swell Eco Lodge have arranged to raise money for the Nicholsons. Please give them both a visit and be generous if you can.


The international donation site that takes credit cards and paypal is www.gofundme.com/jessgetwellsoon

Donations can also be made directly to:
ACC: 62398409170
BRANCH: Durban North
CODE: 250655

Or click here to find out how to enter the Swell Eco Lodge raffle.


SIMON: Jess finished chemo in November last year, and by 3 December her tumour had not only regrown to its original size, but a new tumour has formed that crosses the midline of her brain into the right hemisphere. It’s centrally and very badly located. These nerve endings help the right and left brain communicate and therefore surgery is not an option.

So what’s left to do? The chemo she was taking for eight months was the best chemo they have for brain cancer and it didn’t work, and our oncologist advised us that the next best option is more toxic and less likely to be effective.

Through researching this type of cancer over the last year, only one clinic has any claim of beating what Jess has. Oncologists are resolute that this is impossible, but the survivors of this Burzynski Clinic are pretty convincing. There really was no other option for Jess. Their treatment is unproven from an official point of view, therefore medical aid wont cover it. The science is cutting edge stuff, but without years of clinical trials it may as well be a witch doctor potion, because it is not getting any support from the oncology board. It’s important to note that the drugs that are currently approved to treat her type of brain tumour have a 0% success rate… not exactly an exciting option.

So, through a mad scientist approach developed by Dr Burzynski, Jess is taking five different drugs (four big pharmaceutical drugs, which cost so much money the bastards that make them shouldn’t be able to sleep at night) and another developed by Dr Burzynski himself. The trick with brain cancer is to find a combination that will effectively cross the blood brain barrier to deliver the killer blow to this tumour. The blood brain barrier prevents many meds crossing effectively for the same reason it protects your brain from viruses. These five drugs are costing us roughly R150,000.00 per month. We are working on ways of bringing this down, but this looks like what we are in for.

Our medical aid is covering one of the drugs, which is roughly 50k per month, over and above the 150k. Our oncology benefit of 400k will be taxed completely by September.

So very reluctantly I have begun asking people to donate again. It’s an indescribable situation to be in, not being able to look after you wife in a manner that she needs, and my friends (and strangers) have stepped in to make sure that I can – and for that I will be forever in their debt. No words can describe that gratitude.

There are so many people to thank, I have begun sending emails, but there are literally thousands of people to thank. Jess’s folks have really been incredible at taking the pressure off us too, which has been great.

Every cent helps us, every share of our story helps.



  1. uncle onc
    11 January, 2014 at 12:04 pm · Reply

    Whats yr oncologist’s name?and then i might get in touch with some useful related info

  2. uncle onc
    16 January, 2014 at 11:21 am · Reply

    5 days and …no reply? your loss…

  3. gwav
    30 January, 2014 at 4:53 pm · Reply

    Hectic stuff brah, thinking of you and your family…my wife did a year of chemo and radiation and we still not given the all clear. Fight the fight, be strong …

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