Life in Mexico: Jacob Macak in the Hope4Cancer clinic's hyperbolic chamber in Cancun, Mexico


Being stuck in tropical Mexico might sound exotic, but a 34-year-old Queenstowner battling terminal cancer hasn’t had a choice.

After being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, Jacob Macak and his wife, Lilia Rossana, flew to Mexico in March to attend a world-renowned clinic, just making it in time as the Covid-19 epidemic led to borders closing worldwide.

After undergoing a three-week programme at Cancun’s now-closed Hope4Cancer – “I enjoyed it a lot, I learned so much,” he says – the couple couldn’t leave Mexico.

As a result they’ve been locked down in an Airbnb apartment, Macak only venturing out for walks when there aren’t many people around to avoid possible infection from Covid-19.

He takes about 40 pills a day and stockpiled three months’ supply of supplements and medication, just in case.

Twice a week, a doctor turns up to administer intravenous treatments.

A local farmer also supplies him 100 per cent organic food.

Rossana: “He’s doing good, but we’re not going to lie, it’s hard.

“We see more things from the cancer now, he’s coughing a lot, he has very short breath, but I believe those are symptoms the cancer is reacting.”

Warmer temperatures are also better for Macak, she says, so instead of returning to NZ when flights resume, they’re heading to his homeland, Czech Republic, on June 4, to continue his recovery programme.

“We’ll hopefully come home in spring.”

Rossana says they’re coping financially thanks to $75,000 in donations, raised in just six days, via a GoFundMe campaign.

Because Macak was given less than a year to live, he was also able to access insurance money.