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Hero RNLI crew member given 9 months to live - crowdfunder started for specialist treatment

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Hero RNLI crew member given 9 months to live - crowdfunder started for specialist treatment

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A hero member of Salcombe RNLI who received a Medal for Gallantry has been given nine months to live due to a brain tumour. 

Iain Dundas spent 15 years as part of the RNLI Salcombe lifeboat crew and he was, alongside two other crewmembers, were presented with bravery awards in 2021 after risking their lives to save two sailors off who had run aground near Start Point. 

Now he has been given just nine months to live due to a "large, malignant brain tumour". 

L-R: Y Boat Helm Richard Clayton, Salcombe RNLI Coxswain/Mechanic Chris Winzar, and Y Boat Crew Iain Dundas

There is one treatment that could give Iain months or years more to spend with his three sons and his partner, but it is not available on the NHS and costs a staggering £17,500 a month. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Tara Rezaei to support Iain and to try and raise £105,000 to fund six months of the Optune treatment. 

Tara writes on the GoFundMe page: "Smaller tumours can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. But, for a large tumour like Iain’s, there is no treatment available on the NHS.

"‘I felt I was told to go home and die quietly. But I’m not ready to die yet,’ Iain says. As a lifeboatman, Iain never gave up when it came to saving others. Now, with the support of his partner Natalie, he won’t give up on saving himself either.

"The couple began to research Iain’s tumour straight away, and have found a treatment that could well give him years more to live, rather than months.

"The Optune device could shrink the type of brain tumour that’s killing Iain, to the point where it’s small enough for other treatments to work. But it’s only available privately in the UK, and at a prohibitive cost of £17,500 a month.

"We’re aiming to raise £105,000, to fund 6 months of Optune treatment. The next stage would be a CEGAT vaccine to kill the tumour, which costs another £50,000."

Iain was awarded a rare RNLI Medal for Gallantry alongside Y Boat Helm Richard Clayton and lifeboat Coxswain Chris Winzar following their daring rescue in freezing waters in December 2020. 

A yacht was in danger of breaking up in the dark and frigid waters near Start Point at 4.30am on 21 December 2021. The Coastguard helicopter couldn't help due to the appalling weather and the large All-Weather Lifeboat couldn't get close enough. 

So Iain and Richard launched the Y Boat from the back of the lifeboat to get into the tight and narrow gully to rescue the two casualties. This action could have cost the two crewmembers their lives, but their bravery and skill meant that all four people were brought back on to the lifeboat safely. 

Read the full story here.  

Taken at Southampton Boatshow, this photo shows the back of the Tamar class lifeboat where the Y class boat is stored. Credit Robert Kilpin.

Tara wrote: "Iain put himself in danger that night to save others. But now, his luck is running out. And it’s him who needs saving. Will you help?

"Just weeks before this tumour was diagnosed, Iain got engaged to Natalie. They’re true soulmates, with a large family of rescue animals between them, and a love of crafts. They found each other later in life, and this should have been a time of such joy.

"Iain is a dad to three boys from his first marriage: 22-year-old twins Nathan and Isaac, and 18-year-old Angus. Nathan is a medic with the Navy, and has been a real support with his knowledge of healthcare. Isaac is away in London studying law. It’s been hard to be far from the family in this difficult time, but it was wonderful to have him home for Christmas and for his dad’s birthday. Angus is just finishing his apprenticeship in butchery.

"All three boys keep Iain smiling – they go to the cinema, play crazy golf, and enjoy the odd Nando’s. All four Dundas boys have dreamed for years of seeing the Great Wall of China together. But these days, Iain’s dream is a simple one: to be able to watch his sons grow up, and to one day be a grandad.

"Iain worked as an HGV driver until his condition meant that he could no longer do so safely. He’ll probably never be able to drive for a living again. But that’s OK. He’ll be happy with whatever job pays the bills once he’s on the road to recovery. With this treatment, Iain has a chance at a simple, peaceful life with his boys, his wife, his animals and his hobbies. He might never be on the lifeboat crew again, but will continue to support his fellow lifesavers however he can.

"As a lifeboat crew member, Iain spent years helping others. There are people alive today who would not have survived without him.

"Much like at sea, there are no guarantees with the Optune device and the CEGAT vaccine, but other patients (who could afford this private treatment) were given years more to live. If you think Iain Dundas deserves this chance too, any donation you can afford would be a huge help."

You can find the GoFundMe page HERE, where nearly £7,000 has already been raised in four days. 



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