On October 31, 2018, I hopped onto a Greyhound to Toronto in order to Trick or Treat with my five year old grandson. My daughter arrived at the bus station to pick me up and was in tears. She had just come from Princess Margaret with a breast cancer diagnosis. Unexpected and devastating, it was not what any mother wants to hear about their child. Since that date, our family continues to move through cancer treatment with her. She finishes chemo, we hope, on May 7th and faces double mastectomy, radiation, and perhaps more chemo if the current treatment has not been successful.
The two groups who have made all the difference to us have been Princess Margaret Hospital for the exceptional care at all levels for my daughter and Wellspring in London. The quality of care and attention from the Princess Margaret team of nurses, radiologists, oncologists, surgeons, case workers, etc has been stunning for me to see. No matter how old our children are we imagine we can be their protector and caregiver in a crisis. In fact, it has been Princess Margaret who has rightly taken that role. They supported my daughter down to the fine details of how to tell her five year old son she has cancer and how to teach all of us in the family and at school to respond and support him.
For me, it has been Wellspring in London. The first place I went after my daughter's diagnosis was to Joanna Meilleur at Wellspring, The recommended reading and options for services and workshops provide a support to those with cancer and their families that covers the "soft" areas of the experience - the emotions, the fatigue and the fears. It is a safe and nurturing space for fear, grief and hope.
As many times as I walked through experiences with friends dealing with cancer treatment, I still felt like a novice - overwhelmed by the fear for someone so young and so beloved to me. Both of these groups have sustained our family through a wrenching upheaval that continues for another year. I would be grateful to see one or both of these groups receive Lerner's’ support.
With appreciation for your generosity, Betsy
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