CORNER BROOK — When Harold Russell was asked to be an honorary spokesperson for Daffodil Place in 2009, he was thrilled to do so.
One of nine people to be asked, he told his story of dealing with prostate cancer, including there being no such affordable accommodations to avail of back in 2006.
“It would have been nice to have a place of my own,” he was quoted as saying in the promotional material when the hostel for cancer patients and their families was finally opened.
Later this fall, the 63-year-old Corner Brook man will be going back to Daffodil Place. This time, though, he will be one of the people who needs the service.
Earlier this year, Russell was told by his doctor that prostate cancer has returned, despite having surgery six years ago.
“I would never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be going back there as a patient,” Russell said.
Being able to stay at Daffodil Place will be most welcome to Russell. He had only recently got himself back into a financial position where he could do the renovations on his home that got put on hold when he got sick years ago.
Now, that money will likely be once again funnelled towards getting better again. He has to go to St. John’s for three days of tests in late September. Then he has to spend seven weeks from October to early December in St. John’s undergoing radiation treatment, his only option this time around after having the one-time surgical procedure done in 2006.
There are eight days among those seven weeks where he will not be able to stay at Daffodil Place. He also has to pay his own way back and forth the island, plus meals.
He figures the whole ordeal could cost him in excess of $5,000.
On Sunday, the local prostate cancer support group will be having its annual Walk a Mile in His Shoes fundraiser. The walk is a short one, leaving the Kinsmen Club building on St. Mark’s Avenue at 2:30 for a stroll round the Murphy Square shopping area and back to the Kinsmen building for entertainment, food and prize draws.
Russell will do the walk if he can. If not, he will be on hand to volunteer at the barbecue or any other job he is able to do.
The money raised goes towards raising more awareness of prostate cancer. It is not meant to offset the cost of treatment for people like Russell and other men battling prostate cancer.
Russell has been an advocate for better help for folks like him who are on a fixed income and find it hard to afford accessing the care they require. He said all he can do is operate within the health-care system the way it is.
“It’s not going to change,” he said. “If it was going to happen, it would have a long time ago.”