Cause Index

Karen Buchler Cancer Fund


Karen Buchler (Vosloo) is a 24 year old woman and was diagnosed with cancer in June 2007. She had to give up her law studies in her first year and since then she is in a battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

She has exhausted all possible chemo therapy, had five operations and two unsuccessful stem cell transplants. During April 2011 she was told by her Oncologist that she is terminally ill and that they could do nothing any more to cure her from cancer. They send her home to spend her last months with her family and loved one’s.

It has now been one year since her “death sentence” and by God’s Grace Karen is still alive and with us although she is now rapidly getting weaker by the day.


A new drug named Brentuximab Vedotin (SGN-35) was registered in November 2011 in the USA after clinical trials with a high success rate.

It has not been registered in any country outside the USA to date. This drug was developed specifically for patients like Karen, who have no hope to recover from Refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

This SGN-35 can be obtained under a managed Named Patients Programme (NPP) from IDIS (the only global distributor in England).

We are receiving assistance from Professor Paul Ruff at Wits University who is in touch with IDIS and is arranging for the importation of the drug and the approval from the local medical authorities.

Professor Ruff will oversee Karen’s therapy with this new drug in Johannesburg.


Should the above therapy be successful a bone marrow transplant would be necessary to finally get rid of the cancer. This transplant must take place within nine months after her cancer has been in remission. The transplant will be done in Cape Town once a donor has been found.


The drug is extremely expensive to obtain and will cost:

€ 106 656 = R 1 120 000 (one million one hundred and twenty thousand rand) for the maximum of 16 treatments. Other local costs such as hospital and PET Scans amount to about R 180 000. The total cost for the treatment will therefore be around R 1 300 000.

The treatments must take place every 21 days. We are allowed to order the treatments in batches and the ideal would be to set a short term target to raise funds sufficient to order a first batch of 6 cycles at € 6 666 per cycle.

Our first target is R 420 000 plus R 67 500 = R 487 500

This will allow us at least two and a half months to raise funds to order the second batch of at least 4 treatments.

Our second target is then R 280 000 plus R 45 000 = R 325 000 and a

Final target of R 420 000 plus R 67 500 = R 487 500.

The marrow bone transplant will cost between R 800 000 and R 1 400 000 according to Prof Ruff.

To completely get rid of the cancer we need:

For the Brentuximab Vedotin (SGN-35) treatment : R 1 300 000

For the bone marrow transplant : R 1 400 000

Total amount required : R 2 700 000

Factors that will play a role in the final amount required are:

a) The exchange rate between the Rand and the Euro. If it goes above R 10.50 for a Euro, we will pay more. If it goes below R10.50 for a Euro, we will pay less;

b) It could happen that Karen won’t need all sixteen treatments but say only ten treatments. Then there will be a huge saving;

c) Because of her size it could mean that she would need a doses smaller than the average for every cycle; and

d) For the bone marrow transplant it depends whether the donor is from South Africa or from an overseas country.