Tanya Gouthro knows she owes her holiday festivities this year to exceptional cancer care.
Gouthro recently completed treatment for breast cancer that included eight rounds of chemotherapy, and understands the need for the process to be as comfortable as possible.
That’s a big reason why she supports efforts to improve the quality of cancer care as the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation launched its annual Christmas fundraising appeal on Tuesday to purchase chemotherapy equipment.
“For me, I can say that I’m having Christmas this year because of chemotherapy,” she said. “This kind of medication allows people to spend Christmas with their families.”
The holiday endeavour is an extension of the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign, which was launched earlier this year with the goal of raising $5.9 million.
The equipment would provide more comfortable care for patients in Thunder Bay, and would equip 13 partner hospitals across the region to allow those patients to remain closer to home for treatment.
Foundation president Glenn Craig has travelled to the different chemotherapy sites across the region and marveled at the distance some of the patients would otherwise have to travel without them.
“Driving out you see the distances on the roads. When you’re facing cancer treatment and chemotherapy the last thing you want to be doing is driving back and forth, and it’s not medically advisable,” Craig said.
“Having the care close to home, in your own community, so you can come, get your care and sleep in your own bed so you can have your family and friends around you, that’s everything.”
Throughout her ordeal, Gouthro met people who had to come to Thunder Bay for treatment. Those people left behind much of their supporters and loved ones.
If there was any one positive out of the experience for Gouthro it is that she did not have to relocate for her care. She described herself as lucky for living in the city.
“The people that had to come in from out of town were away from their children, their families and their friends,” she said.
“I needed to be surrounded to be the people who loved me and who I loved. I needed my life to feel as normal as I possibly could so going home and getting my kids off the school bus was a really important part of my day.”
The launch coincides with Giving Tuesday, an international movement to support charitable causes after the commercial chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The foundation will be using a direct mail approach as Christmas cards will be sent out during the month. Those looking to donate can either do so via mail or on their website.
They hope to raise $100,000 as a result of the initiative.
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