Jonathon and Liza first met when they were in high school at the age of 16. Little did they know that 9 years from then they would be happily married.
Only 4 months after the honeymoon Jonathon discovered a lump on the side of his neck and started to suffer from a persistent cough. On August 7, 2012 Jonathon was diagnosed with stage 4 Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin's Lymphoma. As a non-smoking, non-drinking completely healthy 25 year old, the oncology team at the hospital could only explain the occurance of the cancer as "just bad luck".
When beginning treatment, the specialists informed Jonathon that there is a five year survival rate of approximately 75-80%, and remission should be achieved within six months.
Following traditional chemotherapy protocols, they proceeded to find that the follow up PET scan still showed substantial disease. It was these results that made it very clear Jonathon and Liza were dealing with a different kind of monster: refractory Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The significance of this disease is that the cancer does not respond to typical treatments, and a more aggressive, less conventional approach needed to be taken.
Many types of chemotherapy and radiotherapy had been trialed over a period of 18 continuous months. During this period, a new type of drug had been developed, trialed and released overseas but not yet recognised by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA), and therefore not available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The drug showed response rates in approximately 70% of refractory patients, a rate far higher than any of the drugs previously prescribed to Jonathon. Naturally, they wanted to give the drug a chance, however it came at a price: $10,500 per session with a plan of four sessions. Fortunately, they were able to raise the $42,000 from family and friends and continue with the treatment.
It was at this point however, that a positive came out of this negative situation. People came together to help out someone in a desperate position, many of which had not even met Jonathon or Liza. This generosity was the inspiration and driving factor behind creating The Green Button Foundation; a foundation whose mission is to raise money and help those patients in need of immediate financial support.
After receiving the new treatment, a follow up scan showed more disease progression and in typical fashion they pushed on and met again with the Haematology Team. A combination chemotherapy which had been clinically trialled to show a response in these situations was suggested and started immediately. 3 cycles in 6 weeks had passed and a follow up scan showed the disease was clearing, there was now a chance to go ahead with a potentially curable treatment plan, an Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant.
In December of 2013, Jonathon received a Bone Marrow Transplant, and his younger sister Carla was his donor. 4 weeks in hospital during Christmas and New Year, there were no complications, the transplant went as smoothly as possible, it was now a waiting game for the next scan.
A follow up scan in March 2014 showed a complete response to the Bone Marrow Transplant and for the first time since diagnosis in August 2012, Jonathon had finally reached remission.
Recovery for the transplant was long and slow, it did however, create an opportunity to establish The Green Button Foundation and this was achieved on October 26, 2014. Since then, the foundation has become a part of and recognised throughout the community and is well known within their affiliated hospitals.
In August of 2016, The Green Button Foundation was awarded the Spirit Of Moonee Valley Award for Contribution By Business, and Jonathon was awarded Moonee Valley Citizen Of The Year. In December of 2016, Jonathon was also awarded the Herald Sun Pride Of Australia Award for his work within The Green Button Foundation.