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STAN MACDONALD: Helping cancer patients get care at home

Stan MacDonald
Stan MacDonald - Contributed

Public can impact families for generations by taking part in RadioDay

What does home mean to you? 

A simple question that conjures up all kinds of thoughts and images. Family, friends, togetherness and support might be common answers. Being surrounded by your loved ones, your family, your community, your pets. Having your comforts close by — your TV, computer, laundry room and your bed. 

Over my five years on the board of directors at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, I have met many cancer patients who have told me how important it was to them to be home for care. In Cape Breton. Surrounded by friends, family, pets and the comforts of their own home. I was one of them. 

Before the opening of our Cape Breton Cancer Centre in 1998 this was not an option. Home was a finish line for cancer patients. 

Patients and their families have told me about the extra stress involved in having to leave home, and their loved ones, to receive their care. I never wanted to leave my bed, let alone my home and my community. 

In 1977, when my father was battling cancer, I can clearly remember the stress and pain that travelling for cancer care caused our entire family. 

Thanks to Cape Breton’s generosity, we’ve come a long way.  

We have made amazing strides since 1977 and even since the centre was built in 1998, and yet today, we are faced with the reality that in order to serve the increasing demand for cancer care, we need to expand our cancer centre. Our building that was built in 1998 to accommodate 16,000 annual visits is now serving 40,000+ people 

In March we announced we will be launching a multi-year, multi-million dollar fundraising campaign to support the new Cape Breton Cancer Centre. 

We are excited about the opportunity to partner on this exciting project. We look forward to reviewing the final plans and determining our level of support. 

Since the early 1990s, our donors and the community have been passionate about supporting cancer care at home, in Cape Breton. This is evidenced by the great support of past cancer-related fundraising projects. The history of philanthropy for cancer care in Cape Breton runs long and deep, spanning 35+ years and millions of dollars to build the first cancer centre and outfit it with the best technology.       

Standing on the ground of the future Cape Breton Cancer Centre gives me great hope. We are building a new cancer centre that will allow us to provide world-class care at home in Cape Breton. This will allow our loved ones to be close to us on their most difficult days. We believe we will be successful in rallying our community behind this cause, because ultimately, we all believe that cancer patients deserve to get their care at home, in Cape Breton. 

On Thursday, we will once again be partnering with 101.9 The Giant and New Country 103.5 on our annual RadioDay project. You will hear stories of hope, determination, great care and people who are making a difference in our community.   

In addition to construction, part of our campaign will be to ensure we continue to have state of the art technology. 

We look forward to hearing inspiring stories like Brenda McCarthy’s, and how she is creating a legacy by helping fund a piece of equipment that will help more patients like her.   

McCarthy, who recently received a call from Alex Trebek himself, is fundraising with us for stereotactic body radiation therapy equipment. This equipment delivers concentrated radiation, impacts the surrounding tissues less and offers treatments over five to six days instead of 25-30. Being home for this specialized kind of radiation would be so important for many of our cancer patients, fighting their battle in Cape Breton.  

We are blessed to have the continued support of so many donors. A huge thank you to Gary Chant of Meco Construction DKI and the team at Jim Sampson Motors who will once again be matching donors for our 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. power hours on RadioDay. Both donors will match monthly gifts made on the phones up to $10,000 each. All funds will be directed to the purchase of the stereotactic body radiation therapy, equipment that McCarthy, her family and friends are championing for so passionately. 

When I think about our campaign, I think about the expression, “It takes a village.” Donors of all types, and from all over the island, country and beyond will be counted on to help. I give because I know the impact it can make. In fact every one of our staff and board members give back to the foundation. 

 On RadioDay, making a monthly gift will be a great way to help initiate this first important phase of a campaign that will help cancer patients get their care, at home in Cape Breton. 

 Please tune in on Thursday to hear the impact our community continues to have on cancer patients here at home. We look forward to sharing more details on Thursday and in the months ahead. Please tune in to RadioDay 2019, and give back — because you care.  

  

 Stan MacDonald is the board chair of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation (@becauseucare) and former VP of sales and marketing for Cape Breton Beverages. He has more than 40 years of leadership experience and lives with his family in Sydney River. Email, stanmacdonald19@gmail.com. 

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