Dialog Box

Darryn gives back with The Ride

Darryn Cutler’s life has been a rough ride in recent years, but he is grateful for the care he has received at the PA Hospital.  He has found his own way to say thanks and give back despite ongoing issues with his health.

Darryn knows firsthand the incredible care given to hospital patients by doctors and nurses, as prior to a diagnosis of melanoma that had metastasized to his brain, he was an enrolled nurse at Gatton Hospital, a profession he loved immensely.

A keen tinkerer and metal worker in his spare time, during time off from treatment this year (2022) Darryn has built a cowboy riding a bucking bull out of motorbike and recycled parts…a stunning work of art he named “The Ride” which he hopes will raise vital funds for the PA Hospital.

PA Research Foundation CEO Damian Topp with Darryn Cutler (right) and Darryn's creation 'The Ride'.

First, he had a Stage 4 Melanoma removed from his back in 2017.  After the onset of debilitating headaches in 2020 he realized they were the first sign of something more troubling going on with his brain.  It was those headaches which would eventually lead to his departure from the nursing profession and finding out his melanoma had metastasized to his brain.

“On the same day I had a CT Scan and MRI they said, “you’ve got to get straight to hospital”. I went to the Ipswich Hospital from Gatton and three days later I was transferred to the PA Hospital,” Darryn said.

“The surgeon said the tumor was wrapped around my speech and memory sections of my brain on the left-hand side.  He also said it had metastasized from my back into my brain.”

Though he is still experiencing nausea and headaches as he continues to recover from treatment, Darryn recently got the news that there was no longer any sign of the tumor in his brain.

“I had two weeks of radiation, and then I had 11 treatments of immunotherapy at the PA, which happened every four weeks.  I finished that in September this year (2022), and they were happy with everything on their end  - no cancer has come back,” he said.

“The immunotherapy has been effective, which is great news.  I get headaches and nausea now but that’s ok, it’s not cancer so that’s good.  I’m not sure if it’s a side effect of the treatment or not.  I’m waiting to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at present.

“I currently work at MITRE 10 in Gatton.  They have been good enough to put me on which is good….and I do about six days a fortnight.  I then try to keep myself active to try and help my brain.  I have a shed, so I go and tinker and make things which helps with the recovery.  That is where the idea for the ‘bull’ came from.

The machined side of “The Ride” represents cancer and the blue eye represents diseases in the cattle. The red eye represents the fire, drive and desire to battle on and the cowboy represents the battle of hanging on through the ride that is cancer treatment.

“Because nursing was a big part of my life, I just don’t feel safe going back into that field while my head isn’t right.  I’ve seen the amazing job that the team does at the PA Hospital, especially in the day treatment area, and so I just wanted to give something back.”

“That’s why the ‘bull’ was built….because of the ride through it all.  That’s how it got its name, because you have to fight when your life gets turned upside down.  If you’ve been around cattle you know riding a bull is no easy feat.  I thought that it would be a good way to represent what people go through.”

Darryn said ideally, he hopes someone will buy the artwork from the PA Foundation and then hopefully donate the piece back to the hospital so that it can be viewed by others in the day treatment area who are going through the same experience, and hopefully inspire them.  

“The care I received at the PA was awesome, right from the start.  I had amazing support from the surgeon, doctors and nurses.” he said.

22 December 2022
Category: Patient stories