Husband received radiation in St. John‚Äôs earlier this year
PASADENA Colleen Pynn of Pasadena is calling upon the people of western Newfoundland, the Northern Peninsula and Labrador to lobby government to put a cancer treatment centre on this part of the island.
Pynn‚Äôs husband Herb has cancer. The couple spent March through July either travelling to or staying in St. John‚Äôs while he received radiation. They spent eight weeks in total on the east coast. The rest of the time was spent driving back and forth the 700 or so kilometres.
Without a radiation unit or PET scanner included in the plans for a new hospital in Corner Brook, Eddie Joyce, Liberal Opposition Health critic, raised the issue in the House of Assembly last week.
Among the people still lobbying for a cancer treatment centre at the future Western Memorial Regional Hospital are Israel Hann and the local health-care committee formed earlier this year to push for answers on the new facility.
Pynn said she didn‚Äôt even know such a committee existed, and that she would have been first in line to sign up and create some noise.
The meetings, which were discussed through the local media, were sparsely attended ‚ÄĒ‚Äąmuch to the disappointment of Hann and the others ‚ÄĒ‚Äąbut a committee was formed. There are plans to continue lobbying government for such things as a radiation unit in the near future.
However, Pynn said it is not enough. She said the masses need to rally.
‚ÄúIf you do not get involved in this, nothing is going to change,‚ÄĚ she said.
The Pasadena woman scoffed at the notion made by Health Minister Susan Sullivan that a radiation unit in Corner Brook is not feasible.
‚ÄúFor the government to say there is not enough people sick on the west coast to warrant a cancer treatment centre here is bullshit,‚ÄĚ she said.
Pynn said there are hundreds of people going through the cancer clinic in St. John‚Äôs daily. While they were there, she said most of the people they met were from outside the east coast. She does not believe the numbers of people west of Gander, up the Northern Peninsula and in Labrador, needing cancer treatment would not justify adding the service somewhere in this region.
‚ÄúIt is not only Corner Brook, put it in Stephenville,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThey have a beautiful hospital in Stephenville that is basically only used for an old-age home.‚ÄĚ
She said the costs incurred by each person who travels across the island ‚ÄĒ for accommodations, food, and the benefits paid out by government to eligible recipients alone ‚ÄĒ would justify the expenses of creating such a centre.
Although, the Pynns received assistance through the Dr. H Bliss Murphy Care Foundation and stayed at the Daffodil Place for two weeks, the help was limited. They still incurred great personal expenses, and were on a wait list for Daffodil Place for the remaining six weeks they were in St. John‚Äôs as Herb underwent radiation.
But the cost of being in St. John‚Äôs was only part of the issue. There are still bills to be paid at home ‚ÄĒ even when you are no longer working.
‚ÄúAfter everything else, you have to pay your mortgage at home, your car payment or payments, you have your phone bill, light bill, cable bill.
‚ÄúThey don‚Äôt care that you have cancer. They are going to come and cut you off.‚ÄĚ
Like many people, friends, family and co-workers also came to the aid of the Pynns. They were very gracious to be the recipients of fundraisers, even if they wish they didn‚Äôt need it.
Herb should have been receiving his radiation treatments closer to home, she said. It‚Äôs time to fight now, according to Pynn, or this will always be the case.