Jacinda Ardern sends heartfelt letter to daughter of man dying of cancer


Jacinda Ardern sends heartfelt letter to daughter of man dying of cancer
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shared her own cancer experience in a hand-written letter to 12-year-old Lilly Vining whose dad Blair is dying of cancer after the public health system has failed the family.

Blair Vining, a 38-year-old Southland father was diagnosed with stage four terminal bowel cancer in October, and is now trying to tick off his last bucket list item: creating a national cancer agency in New Zealand.

Vining’s 12-year-old daughter Lilly is helping him achieve his goal by addressing the Prime Minister.

In an open letter, Lilly urged Jacinda Ardern to help this become a reality.


“If you do what you promised it would tick the last thing off my dad’s bucket list and help many other New Zealanders,” she said in a video posted to the Blair Vining’s Epic Journey Facebook page.

Now the Prime Minister has responded to Lilly in a heartfelt open letter, as reported by the Herald.

Ardern’s letter talks of the loss of her nana and includes details of the Government’s plan to tackle New Zealand’s alarming cancer death rates, an exlusive report by the Herald says.

“I lost my nana when I was your age, and I felt like the world was closing in on me, so it’s hard for me to imagine how you are feeling right now,” Ardern wrote.

She says how important it is New Zealand has a specific plan for cancer but is unsure if an agency independent from political interference would be better equipped to address the issues than the Ministry of Health.

She said her team were doing lots of work but it was taking time.

“When the minister shares the cancer action plan with us, that is when we’ll be able to say who will be able to do the best job possible of making sure it’s delivered properly,” Ardern said.

A petition signed by more than 101,388 New Zealanders, as of noon on Friday, will be handed to National Party health spokesman Michael Woodhouse at on Saturday night.

Political leaders, All Blacks, cancer specialists and victims of the deadly disease will all be there to support the Vinnings.


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login