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How 60 Canadians confronted cancer one day

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

What you are about to read may sadden and disturb you. It may galvanize and inspire you. It is a window into the all-too-common reality of cancer that cries out for understanding. ...Read the full article

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  1. B H from Calgary, Canada writes: Thank you. Cancer has become so common that when a family member or loved one is diagnosed, or worse passes away, we just say 'it was cancer'. It is pure evil, does not descriminate, and can take those closest. A wonderful article. Wonderful because it brings to light what those face each day and how we need to help them, and us. Because some day someone who you know will have this terrible disease. There are some many charities doing so much good, hopefully we all can find it to give that spare dollar. Touching articles.....amazing.
  2. Robert Lee from Kamloops, writes: Cancer stories are always heart-rending.

    I have been diagnosed with ocular melanoma since July 2006. There is a tumor growing behind my left eye.

    This cancer is so rare that about 6 in 1 million people will be diagnosed with it in a year and many possibly post-mortem.

    I have had Avastin treatment twice for the tumor. At first, my ophthalmologist thought the tumor may have been a macular degeneration type tumor instead of cancer. The Avastin treatment, here in BC, cost me $300.00 each time. Maybe because I'm in BC? Or maybe because it was shot into the tumor behind my eye? The other Avastin prices quoted in this article seem outrageous to me.

    I'm lucky, so far all I have lost is the sight in my affected eye and it seems that the cancer hasn't spread yet. Although ocular melanoma is horrendously malignant and I have a 70% chance of living 5 years.

    I am one of maybe 20 people that have had Proton Radiation Treatment for my cancer this year. This type of cancer treatment is only available at about 20 places worldwide, luckily one of them being TRIUMF subatomic research facility at UBC in Vancouver.

    Besides having my eye removed, the proton radiation was my only other option. And there are no guarantees that the cancer won't spread as the radiation attempts to kill the tumor.

    Who knew that a sudden blurring of vision, and three years of uncertain diagnoses, would lead to a cancer finding and treatment.

    Unlike most cancers ocular melanoma cannot be biopsied, it can only be diagnosed by profile. The eye cannot be biopsied.

    And if you don't get a change in vision or some other shock to the ocular region this cancer may not be found until after death.

    I have been accumulating facts and my story on my own website:

    I am scared but I don't stand alone.
  3. Mr Fijne from Calgary, Canada writes: If only the capital I lost thanks to Flaherty Trusts decision had gone to help research... But no it just went up in smoke for nothing. Thank you Globe and Mail for this amazing stories well told and so inspiring...
  4. Lisa Koncsik from North Vancouver, Canada writes: My brother and my stepfather were both diagnosed with cancer on April 14th, 2006. My brother with colon cancer at 36 years old ended up having surgery on May 15th to remove 12 inches of his colon. He was lucky, the tumor was wholely contained in his colon and did not need any chemo or radiation.

    My stepfather had stomach cancer. We waited 3 weeks for the Drs to figure out who was going to pay for his chemo while his condition deteriorated. Unfortunately I believe that the cancer was already too advanced and the chemo just helped him to die sooner. He died on June 14th. I'm just glad that he didn't suffer for long.

    Cancer really doesn't descriminate. Almost everyone has been touched by it in some way, either by a family member or friend.
  5. P R from SDF, Canada writes: I was really touched by Shelby's story and the pictures that did portray a happy, courageous fighting little princess! Best wishes and prayers to her family.
  6. John Di Fruscia from Calgary, Canada writes: Very touching articles....thank you. I've been inspired.
  7. Surfer Dude from Seattle, Washington, United States writes: As a physician I deal with this everyday. Not only in cancer but in heart failure, kidney failure, COPD. We all try our best for the patient but how can years of neglect be reversed? This part of medicine is not elegant or glamorous. It is not on the E channel. It is important to diagnose properly and treat. If there is a treatment problem then other resources can be utilized such as in the US.
  8. Vickky Angstrom from Calgary, Canada writes: After you finish reading the article, hop into your car and roar down the road spewing exhaust. Buy some household cleaning supplies, fabric softener and some bleached paper. Then pop into the supermarket and buy meat laced with hormones and don't forget vegetables and fruits with herbicides and pesticides. Pick up some baby wipes. They have anti-freeze in them. Don't forget water in plastic bottles - you need the extra estrogen. Then sit down at the end of the day on your scotchguarded furniture, give the room a nice squirt of air 'freshener' and wonder how it is that so many people have cancer. Take a moment to wonder why the Cancer Society says nothing about this.
  9. p m from vancouver, Canada writes: What a morbid must be a slow day at the G&M.
    Maybe you could have a couple articles on the homeless.
    Or people who bank accounts have been stripped by the Government Tax thieves.

    No more body bags from Iraq?..or are your readers getting desensitized to that.

    Your responsibility as a newspaper is to provide the populace with news that is relevant, not tear jerker bits about the disenfranchised....unless of course you are posing a solution
  10. Alex M from metropolitan, Canada writes: I wonder to what extend cancer diagnoses are invented by the modern medical “machine” which strives for human supply.
  11. M K from Ottawa, Canada writes: #8, good point, yet our average lifespan is increasing.

    #10, yes it's all one big conspiracy! You should wear a tin foil hat to protect yourself from their alien probing devices. Honestly, you can see most tumours.

    Seriously, why has there not been a public policy decision to invest billions in fighting cancer. I can think of no war more noble than the one that occurs within. Canada needs a broad, ambitious, daresay risky program to invest time and money into research programs that would see the end to this scourge!
  12. Jimmy Hendrikx from Toronto, Canada writes: Sensationalism... You would think that Cancer kills everyone. I was treated in 1990, and have been clear since. I hear the most ridiculous comments from people whose only research is reading the stuff that sells papers. Many of the stories are tragic, but would have been considered natural not very long ago. The truth is that many survive, and a lot more than what you would think. Leukemia, a previous sure killer mainly associated with kids, is now curable at close to 90%. Testicular cancer is almost fully curable (but you did find one of the 2%!!! How lucky for you!!!). Breast Cancer deaths are decreasing with increased research. The truth is that cancer and its treatment is morbid. But we have come a long way, and there are many survivors out there, who would rather just go on with their lives with a magnificent insight that many will not encounter until their lives near ended. This article does nothing to applaud the survivors, just to put even further fear into an uneducated public. Lastly, for clarification, I was given a 40% chance to live. I made it, and moved on. The most tragic part of cancer was my baby, born in May, diagnosed in June, and given a 20% chance of survival. Many of these stories have people who can rationalize the treatment. The many, many children that we see at Sick Kids are not old enough to have the capacity, but still show strength enough to teach any of us the meaning of bravery and strength.
  13. p r from Toronto, Canada writes: I wonder to what extent the author of #10 is deluded - or ever leaves his home. Cancer is not elusive or ambiguous, as say certain viruses might be; rather, it takes a relatively predictable course and manifests in very obvious, detectible physical forms. Surely George Bush offers more promising fodder for a conspiracy theorist than cancer.
  14. R W from St C, Canada writes: A wise old philosopher named George Carlin once quipped that, 'research had shown that Saliva causes stomach cancer....but only when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time.'
  15. p r from Toronto, Canada writes: In response to #9, even assuming that a newspaper's mandate is as narrow as 'to provide the populace with news that is relevant', it is not at all clear that this precludes describing, in poignant detail, a certain, very common reality in our society to those who may not have experienced it first-hand. Presumably, if the Globe had merely reported the lastest statistics on cancer cases/deaths, you would deem such a report 'news that is relevant'; yet, a bunch of figures are not particularly meaningful in themselves, and they certainly don't capture the reality of the situation. Newspapers don't exist merely to report events and statistics for their own sake; at the very least, they exist to provide us with useful information/understanding that helps us to make informed decisions (in our personal lives as well as politically), and how people experience cancer, and their experience with healthcare services, in this society is surely relevant in this regard.
  16. Joe Public from Canada writes: To #9.....

    If this article was so irrelevant, why did you 1)read it and 2)post a comment about it?
  17. John Hinkley from Thornhill, Canada writes: My wife passed away in April 2005 after losing a 15 year battle with breast cancer.

    While we had many good years between the start and the end of her courageous battle, the lesson is that once cancer is in your body it is never totally gone.

    Some where within there are genes that are predisposed to cancer.

    There was no history of cancer in my wife's family. I remain convinced to this day that environmental issues triggered the cancer. She thought stress.

    Regardless, cancer is with us every day of lives whether impacting family, friends, co-workers or whomever.

    Unfortunately, it comes in many forms and each individual reacts differently to both the cancer and the treatment.

    I believe researchers need to focus on issues external to the physical body. There must be some correlation of facts that can help pin point cause.
  18. jacob koren from Canada writes: how about prevention ? Major factor in cancer is the food we as individuals consume on a daily basis . It is well known what not to eat in order to reduce the possibility of getting cancer. As the wise man said ; ' one ounce of prevention is better than one pound of cure.'
  19. M. I. AM from Guelph, Canada writes: Sixty or so years ago the Canadian Cancer Society was born. It was not financed by our governments but by personal donations. We have given billions of dollars to this organization who promised us instant discovery of a cure for all cancer. What we have instead is huge, state of the arts buildings, lots of advice, overpaid administrators and researchers, inefficient doctors, long waits for treatment and more dead or dying friends and family from undetected cancers than ever before.
  20. Wise Guy from VI, BC, Canada writes: Cancer is mostly a result of interior (the crap we eat) and exterior environmental pollution. Half of us will suffer from it and this is a brand new phenomenon. Apparently, Mother Nature has her checks and balances - you can't mess with her too much without consequences. It's Karma folks and also great business, so don't wait for the medical maffia or multi- Billion dollar cancer industry to tell you the truth. CBC via Wendy Mesley had a really spot on TV special on this ...
  21. Rasha Mourtada, from Canada writes: If you're wondering, as some of you have indicated, why The Globe and Mail chose to cover cancer in this way, I invite you to read Editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon's column from today's paper. We'd like the comments on this article to be about cancer. We welcome comments on The Globe's coverage of this subject, but ask that you use the comment function on Edward Greenspon's column for them. Thank you.
  22. Elizabeth Jamischak from Toronto, Canada writes: Thank you for the stories and mentioned by some comments already, cancer does affect everyone differently. Some try to learn from it and get past it as soon as possible and others don't. No matter what, it does affect not only the person diagnosed but those surrounding that person. In my family my mother, 3 aunts, 1 cousin and 2 uncles all have or have had cancer. Some lived and some died. Unfortunately there is no way to truely explain what it's like to friends who have never been touched by cancer, the smells, the sights, meeting with doctors...I realize 'cancer' seems to be in vogue right now for charities but I do hope this series will be a comfort to some and a relevation to others...
  23. bongo bongo from hick town, United States writes: Label me as you wish but I do not trust most of the doctors, their conclusions and the chemicals that they are trying to pump into my body when I am ill. I rather believe in the natural ability of my body system to overcome problems.
  24. Rage Aholic from Canada writes: I know this probably won't be posted because it contains an ad hominem attack, but #9, what is wrong with you?????? Did you even have the decency to read the entire article? At the very least we owe these people who told their stories our thanks for reminding us to be thankful for our health. You never realize how lucky you truly are. And how can you question the relevancy of this article? Human interest stories, while perhaps lacking a sensational quality are the hallmark of a newspaper that hasn't forgotten why people read newspapers - to connect. If anything, these stories help get the message out that cancer doesn't just happen to 'someone else', it hits real people in situations similar to our own and affects men and women, young and old alike. I for one will never, ever forget little Shelby's story for the rest of my life and my heart aches for her family even now. How many of us would be brave and selfless enough to share a story like that? I don't know that I would be.
  25. Dan Wurster from Abu Dhabi, writes: Thank you. It was a struggle, but I read the entire article. You have helped those who have been fortunate of not having to deal with the horrors of cancer. I applaud all those in your story for their courage in dealing with this dreadful disease. I understand that we may never know why or how or when or who, but let us not forget that we can all do a small part in helping those who have to deal with this.
  26. R. Carriere from Canada writes: BRAVO G&M. I had the opportunity to read the entire print section on the airplane this AM. Rivetting! A terrific read that I will keep and refer to when I believe things get tough in my little protected world!
  27. Clark Kent from Canada writes: I had a grandmother who died from advanced colon cancer. She smoked a lot, so lifestyle was a key with her. She spent her last days in my parents' home doped up and usually unconscious. The pain must have been unbearable; I can remember her ever moaning in agony while awake. Some discussion on euthanasia in this country would be nice. I can't imagine her last few weeks were happy.
  28. Daniel Clarke from Canada writes: '#3 Mr Fijne from Calgary, Canada writes: If only the capital I lost thanks to Flaherty Trusts decision had gone to help research... But no it just went up in smoke for nothing.'

    All that money you lost in investments, and recovered most of it by now unless you sold, was it going to be invested into cancer research? Because unless you personally were going to put it all into cancer research that money wasn't going anywhere near it. All that capital you invested couldn't be taxed. So the government couldn't go and put it into medical research, unless they broke various laws and took the money illegally. Also I'm pretty sure that very few pharmaceutical componies are Income Trust based. So the companies that develop Cancer treatments aren't getting any of this money either.

    So exactly how does the Conservative governments Income Trust decision actually affect Cancer treatment?

    Now for the Globe and Mail, good article, very informative. Thanks.
  29. grover station from Hamilton, Canada writes: I work in cancer care. People often say it must be so sad to see cancer patients all day long. I tell them its not sad at all, its rewarding because I am able to help people. The biggest lesson I have learned from working in this field is that you have to make the most of the time you have. Keep your kids from smoking.
  30. Louis Pacella from Canada writes: #9 In a sugar-coated society where death is taboo, the article made me think how I might have handled death had I been found terminally ill. Anyhow, thinking about death once in awhile is good for the spirit.
  31. Eric Kirkpatrick from Vancouver, B.C., Canada writes: When my high school buddy was diagnosed with Throat Cancer his Doctor told him not to worry. The Doctor had it himself so just do as he says, no changing his diet or alternative regimes, and he'll beat it. 10 1/2 months later my friend was dead. When my wife was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, her Oncologist said only that she wished to be advised on any such actions, so as to prevent any adverse reactions with her Chemo. So we did and even through my wife lost the battle it took 7 1/2 years, when the Doctors predicted 5 or less. As for 'flaws' in the system. We're poor but at no time from initial diagnose through her final days in Palliative Care did she receive any less then the best care provided by a group of compassionate and dedicated professionals.
  32. Beat Rocker from Calgary, Canada writes: My own mother passed away at the age of 49 in 2001 after battling renal cancer for four long years. After reading all of these different stories I am amazed at the similarities of having to deal with approaching death while still being alive that run through each, regardless of how aggressive or how advanced their form of cancer is. In those unforgettable final conversations with my mom before the drugs and treatments eroded her body and her mind I remember her trying to explain how the worst part of the whole experience was the forced reflection and reality that accompanied knowing that you were going to die. I applaud the Globe & Mail for printing these stories, as this particular topic supercedes all the trust taxing and diplomatic posturing combined.
  33. Pieter D from Montreal, Canada writes: What has changed drastically in the last 50 years is our environment and food supply, so we need to stop and take a close hard look.
  34. Andre Carrington from Bangor, United States writes: As a cancer patient myself I feel a special bond with many of the people described in this article. I'm going to pray for everyone whose story appeared in the article and I highly commend G&M for running it. Seeing the pictures and reading the stories brought back the horror of chemotherapy, the constant irritation of the Hickman Line and the unbidden fear of the dying process that suddenly steals a sunny mood every now and then. This article also made me remember the oncologist's waiting room crammed with the elderly, very young, middle-aged and young adults - the numbers seemingly increasing month by month. I made many friends during those times but lost track of them when their schedules stopped matching up with mine. I can only wonder how everyone made out. A cancer diagnosis has terrible effects on your close family members. In my family, we all live in different countries which makes everything more difficult. The first time I heard my father cry was when he heard about my diagnosis on the phone. My brother was almost hysterical - I felt terribly guilty - as if I had done something really wrong. There were times when I wished that I had already passed to spare them the grief. Thanks again G&M for running such an indepth and important article. God Bless everyone diagnosed with cancer and all the other serious illnesses. Best Wishes, Andre. PS: I was diagnosed just over two years ago with an aggressive form of Acute Lymphocyctic Leukemia (ALL). My prognosis is unknown as my doctors insist that only a bone marrow transplant can cure my illness. However, I signed up for a clinical trial and received a new drug that appears to hold my symptoms in check - so I thank the Lord for every new day in my life.
  35. Russ Arnott from Comox, Canada writes: Living with a loved one who has an illness is not doubt difficult. However, this is the time we need to stand by and support him/her to our full ability. My wife passed away five years ago at the young age of thirty-seven. She had MS for ten years prior and sadly succumbed to this horrible disease but in that time we stayed strong and optimistic.

    I vowed years earlier that I would never let her travel that road alone and kept that vow until she passed away in my home where she was comfortable.

    To those of you who find it uncomfortable when a friend or a loved one is ill please remember that this is when they need you the most. Treat them with respect and give them the dignity they deserve...they are your friend or loved one and they need you now. Don't hide, physically or emotionally, because you don't know what to will come naturally to you if you give it the chance. Love them while they are here, because after they are gone it will be too late.
  36. John Smith from Canada writes: Very moving article. It was hard to read.

    It remains to be seen whether cancer rates are on the rise as a result of 'environmental factors' because most current diagnostic technologies are relatively new (10 - 50 years). Any 'evidence' to the contrary is anecdotal at best. No one knows.

    Cancer is ubiquitous among all complex organisms - a natural process, and wishing for a 'cure' in the near or distant future is completely unrealistic. We can't stop the ageing process. The media continually misinforms.

    We should continue to direct research dollars into the studying the disease, improving therapies and most importantly improving methods for early detection.
  37. Rebecca Gagne from st thomas, Canada writes: thank you # 24
  38. d d from Canada writes: its good to have a story that everyone can agree on. Something that all lefties righties extreme lefties and extreme righties, communists, dictatorships , can all agree on,, we can at least all work together and support the cause to eliminate cancer, or find new treatments
  39. Bill G from Canada writes: I would like to echo the comments of those who have been touched by cancer. I am approaching my 5 year anniversary and my family and I faced the gamut of emotions and trials that cancer patients face. Do I fade away or fight? Should I stay positive or get depressed? As a father, must I be strong for my family? Can I be strong enough? Can my spouse be strong? I learned early from all of the support from my family, friends and co-workers, that we all have an immeasurable quality and strength to get us through tough times. Thanks Globe and Mail for this article. Thanks to those who chose to tell their story. Survivors have an obligation to help others that are going through their trial now and talking about your experiences will help them through it, whatever the outcome.
  40. Rebecca Gagne from st thomas, Canada writes: This is Shelbys Father, I give anyone that has the courage to write negative comments to give me a call on my personal line, I think the Globe and Mail did an excellent job, protraying what life is like in the cancer world. As I thaught, this would never happen to me. The days that I think back to ,when Shelby was alive ,and the things that I put off doing with her still haunt me. If I could give one little piece of advice is to spend the most time with the little ones that we love so much. We always say not right now, but when there is no more time, all we can do is wish we had more.

    Hug your kids tonight and tell them how much you love them, one last time

    I wish I could

    Steve Gagne

  41. DANIELLE R from MISSISSAUGA, Canada writes: Weather there is a cure or there is not a cure, we have to remember to do things on our own and by our selfs, SELF WILL. Why do people always rely on cures and other things to find the easy way out! Yes we do need certain things to help us or make us feel better, we all can admit that at sometime or another everyones takes advil or tynol and everything else for the pains, but it comes down to there is always another way you just have to find it. My grandma had colone cancer and she too is a surviver for many years and we thank God everyday that she is still with us, she did not do kemo or take the harmful medine that people associate is beneficial. If you look and read between the lines it causes more damage and possiblity for other side effects,why do you want that. We also reasearched other methods and natural medine because we knew there is a great world beyond the medine that is percribed as per your doctor.Long time ago we did not know or have available medicines compared to what we have now, how did we do it before,without all the chemicals and harmful additives. The strongest medine is the will to survive and that alone is a cure,making them happy and confortable, that they are loved and protected by there families. It is sad and unfortunate some do not make it threw but believe you can over come it and believe me and my grandma you can...... for some people you need to educate yourself on this, because you never know when and how it might come.YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PREPARED!
  42. Rage Aholic from Canada writes: #37, It's nice to know my comments resonated with someone important, it's a smaller world than we think. My best wishes to you and all your family.
  43. Gerry McGuinness from Ireland writes: Superb, thought-provoking. All credit to you for bringing the pain and courage of people suffering from cancer to the eyes of others. It puts so much of life min perspective and shows how much we all need to help and fight the scourge of cancer and help to make the lives of sufferers and their nearest and dearest that little bit easier.
  44. Glen Murtz from writes: Cancer has morphed froma disease to an industry. The *real* tragedy here is are the underlying aspects of this 'industry'. Earlier this year, the Globe and Mail in an excellent series on chemicals that over 50,00 new compounds have been approved by Health Canada since the 70's but only a few thousand have been subject to rigorous testing. No word from the Canadian Cancer Society on this... How is it that the Canadian Cancer Society remained ABSOLUTELY SILENT when a study revealed that massive levels of PDBE's were found in *most* womens breast milk in the Pacific Borthwest a few years back? The Canadian Cancer Society is now an industry unto itself, fixing broken parts, but never ever questioning the origins of this 'mystery' called cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society is complicit in making cancer an industry that pays its executives well and achieves little in the way of results. They don't do one DAMNED thing to fight the origins of cancer - which is plainly the toxic soup we inhabit daily. They simply take the money form polluting industries like forestry companies and parade around a few weakened kids to drum up support every few years. Cancer Society's are rackets in every sense of the word. Precautionary Principle versus Risk Assessment. Guess which side our vaunted 'Cancer Society' is on? These people might once have had noble ambitions, but they've plainly changed into parasites. Cruela and crass as it may sound, Cancer is Good Business for some.
  45. K Clelland from Halifax, Canada writes: I have lost neither friends, nor family to cancer, yet this article resonated deeply with me. I thank both the Globe and Mail and the courageous people who participated in this feature for sharing this story, and putting a very human face on the struggles, challenges, and hope that thousands of Canadians face every day. My thoughts and prayers extend to those show shared their stories, and their families. I look forward to reading more as you continue your series.
  46. Barbara Crook from Canada writes: May I add one thing to my earlier comment . . . something we can all do right away, that won't cost us anything except a little bit of time, is to become regular whole blood donors (platelet donors for those who can do it) and become part of the Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry. When I am hooked up to that machine and know that my platelets are going to someone fighting cancer (or AIDS, or severe burns, or other life-threatening ailments), I don't feel quite so helpless. And a special thanks to Shelby's parents for sharing her story with us. Barbara in Ottawa
  47. Helen Pettingill from Ontario, Canada writes: Rebecca & Steve Gagne, my sincerest condolences to both of you. Your little Shelby was quite an angel. You must be very proud of her. I will never forget her story either.
    I think it's great that the G & M publishes human interest stories such as this. Cancer affects every single one of us sooner or later one way or another. If we don't get it, surely a loved one will eventually & I am no exception. My older brother died of leukemia 25 years ago at the age of 21 & my mother died of a brain tumour in 1987. It was rough for them & the whole family. We all need to educate ourselves & get a grip on it by hearing about real people & their experiences as opposed to a bunch of statistics. A previous post had it right when they mentioned how important it is for people to visit dying friends & relatives. It can be so beneficial. Keep that in mind.
    # 8 is right too. Think about those nasty chemicals you use around the home. Surely they're a big part of the problem.
    One more thing - it's a little discouraging that so many people are still dying from cancer. Terry Fox died at least 25 years ago & since then, millions of dollars have been raised in his name for cancer research. Millions more have been donated to the cancer society & PMH all in the name of fighting cancer. Why aren't survival rates much higher? Do the drug companies not want to do better for fear of losing big bucks? I realize huge strides have been made but it's not enough in my opinion.
  48. Mandy Delorme from Quebec, Canada writes: REBECCA GAGNE, chapeau ! What a lady you are...and God in His great love for you has given you a superb ANGEL to protect and guide you and yours for the rest of your lives. Do not even lose a second on reading or trying to evaluate comments such as rude #9 has written. Think of your SHELBY, only of SHELBY. She is part of you, part of your forever life and how lucky you were to have her in your life. I know, it must be so unbearable thinking you cannot give her a hug when you wake up in the morning but, hug your Emily even more. She needs it as much as you do. She too misses her super hero. And daddy does to. My prayers are with you always.
    Armande Delorme
  49. Steve Lee from Canada writes: Such a downer! On a cold,bleak and dreary day you choose to bombard us with a depressing article accompanied with a black & white picture blaring on the front page. Sure it's an important topic but why not highlight it with a more innovative spread inside and also point out how little support the conservative government gives to research and health care?
  50. Adam _ from Toronto, Canada writes: # 41 - I have stage 4 colon cancer and have been through various chemotherapy regiments and believe me it's not an easy way out. Let me tell you that when I was first diagnosed I've spent months and months reading and learning the disease and any available treatment options. Stage 4 colon cancer prognosis is very grim as median life expectancy is about 20 months with the chemo and just a few months without. In a few cases surgery might be and option to improve those odds. Stage 4 is very different that stage 1 when chemotherapy is not recomeded and surgery offers about a 90% cure. That's the stage I believe your grandmother would have been diagnosed with.
    Through my reaserch, among the infinate resources available online, the most frustrating thing I found are people offering advice and cures not knowing the hard facts about this disease. Worse yet, people promising results or cures with therapies that are cannot show any results in a controlled lab environment. The trouth is that there is no conspiracy, CANCER is real and real people get it everyday. Some get it from smoking, some get it passed down through genes, and some get it for unexplained to us (yet) reasons. I will agree with your statement that the will to survive plays a key role in recovery but almost certainly it alone or with some natural herbs won't cure you from a normally fatal cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery are far from perfect treatments but are the best we have at the current moment. In addition, finding an iformed doctor plays a key role in beating this disease. Just like with any other proffesion, there are good doctors and lazy unmotivated ones so shop-around. Think of this concept... when the going gets tough, who are you goning to trust? a herbalist at a mall? some phony on the internet? your friend's uncle? or a well informed and trained physician who lives and breathes this suff? Please Danielle, do us all a favour and don't confuse us. Point out the facts only.
  51. David Hills from Toronto, Canada writes: I lost my wife after a 9 year battle with breast cancer. It is a most dreadful and horrible disease. It is particularly difficult for your chidlren.

    I believe that you should have described more young people ( under 50) who are getting cancer and losing the battle. This is a most serious issue and needs to be addressed in a far more organized manner than it appears to be at the present time.

    I am very cynical when it comes to the funds being spent on cancer - if you compare research dollars to what is spent on treatment the latter gets the lion's share. I question how badly drug companies want a cure! Would you want to lose a number of $2 Billion a year drug sales (for many of the treatment drugs) if a cure is identified for many cancers?

    In this same issue we see that Lucille Broadbent has lost her long battle with breast cancer? Another Wife, Mother, and friend is lost!

    What is it going to take to have a coordinated effort to focus more dollars on research into causes and cures? Treatment is needed but we are losing far too many citizens every day that goes by! Many treatments are palliative in nature.

    We need to see action to focus our best brains in a coordinated manner to find ANSWERS!

    You series can do nothing but good if you are able to marshall our leaders to take action and now!

    Keep up the good work.
  52. Laura M from Canada writes: I just want to acknowledge my sister, Angela Tomsic, for having the courage not only to stare down her cancer but for contributing to this article. I knew she was putting together something but I had no idea how difficult it was for her to confront it on paper.

    Seeing the online pictures of her & husband Gene, beloved pooch Hooshier, her handwritten notes of her diagnosis, and those locks of hair on the paper left me in tears. I remember those days all too well. She is a remarkable woman, who has taught me what real strength is all about. I am so incredibly proud she is my sister.

  53. Lyndsie Bourgon from Canada writes: I just want to say that, as a journalism student, it's easy to get bogged up in the mix of standard journalism. This piece reminds me of why I want to tell stories of real people.
  54. sudhir jain from Canada writes: My daughter and wife had breast cancer one after the other. The cancer and chemotherapy changed their thought processes significantly. My other two daughters have anxieties due to much greater risk of cancer and their insurance rates have skyrocketed. As a husband and father, I have changed considerably. I am much more empathic, not only to the family but sick people elsewhere. I have seen my dearest frightened by impending death and go through horrible treatments. I have felt the fear of losing the rason d'etre of my life and often wondered why them and not me. I have lived through the times again and again when I was inconsiderate to them and been overwhelmed with guilt. I used to feel that if I had to live my life again, I will live the same way. Now I am certain that I will try to be less selfish and more considerate. I will certainly give more of myself than tiny negligible bit I actually have.
  55. Rebecca Gagne from st thomas, Canada writes: This is Rebecca Gagne, Angel Shelby's mom. I am extremely appreciative to the Globe and Mail for helping to keep my daughters memory alive. It has been just four short months since Shelby made her magical journey and she still continues to touch the hearts and souls of so many. I am appauled by the negative comments posted on this website. Unfortunately, cancer does not discriminate and affects so many people in so many ways. When I say my daughter on the front page of the Globe and Mail, I did not see a bleak black and white photo. Instead, what I saw was the most heroic little girl, full of life. Yes, Shelby died, but she became the world's greatest teacher accomplishing more in her three years and three months than most people will in a lifetime. I guess, I will tell the readers of the Globe and Mail the same thing I tell my daughter Emileigh, 'If you have nothing nice to say, than don't say anything at all.' How incredibly rude to pass judgement on such special individuals and their families. These people did not choose to have cancer and we never know what the future will hold. It is important to live each day as if it is your last. Remember, 'Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.'
  56. Rebecca Gagne from st thomas, Canada writes: To read all of Shelby's story, go to:

    Thank you for your ongoing thoughts and prayers as we as Shelby's family try to cope with the loss of a true Princess.
  57. TIMOTHY MCGILLION from Oakville, Canada writes: Dear Rebecca and Steve Gagne, There will never be anymore bad days for me! Thank you. Timothy Mcgillion
  58. JERRY White from BEAUMONT, TX, United States writes: An old cynic once told me that all doctors know how to do is poison (medicine), mutilate (surgery), or burn (radiation). At the same time, there is a small but growing band of researchers who believe that the current approaches to fighting cancer are not working. They feel that we must find out why our own immune system does not attack invading cancer cells as it does pathogenic bacteria and viruses. This would be a far more benign and less expensive approach. Why not utilize our own natural defenses and enable them to recognize the fatal intent of cancer cells? I say more power to them. This from a 75 year old prostate cancer survivor and husband of a 71 year old multiple myeloma survivor.
  59. karen arbour from Toronto, Canada writes: I want to thank The Globe & Mail for having this series on cancer. My husband has stage 4 colon cancer with meds to the liver & lungs and is going to Roswell Park every week for Erbitux not available here in Ontario. Also he's on CPT-11.

    Thanks again
  60. Helen Pettingill from Ontario, Canada writes: Adam, #50, Your story makes me sad. I really hope they can find some miracle for you.
  61. Ingrid Van Dyk from St.Thomas, Canada writes: WHAT A PICTURE ON THE FRONT COVER...AN ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE

    It is truly sad #9 that you did not read or see the whole story on Princess Shelby
    because if you did you would have realized that she was not an inspiration to just one life but too many. Shelby has shown more courage in 3 years,3 months than most individuals would ever have to in their lifetime.

    'A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle' --Majors
    Hopefully, we all see this happen one day

    Soar High Angel Shelby!!!

    Ingrid Van Dyk, St.Thomas, Ontario
  62. Anna Iacono from Toronto, writes: This past Sunday, I spent the entire morning reading all the amazing stories; I cried and I pondered and I prayed...every story was so inspirational and every story reminded me of how our lives are so vulnerable. We MUST live our lives everyday to the fullest. This article touched me more, since a close family member was diagnosed with cancer this past summer - he is 28 years old; we are all praying for a miracle; his cancer is terminal...we pray for him, for his family and for the doctors so that they can all be guided in the right direction. It is difficult to put into words the emotions that are stirred when someone you know has been diagnosed with this horrible disease - I am never at a loss for words- but now, I am. What can anyone say to make someone feel better; to encourage them; I think about this all the time - what can we do as outsiders looking in - we feel helpless. But, when I read the stories - I understood that somehow the strength comes - somehow and someway - If only the pain would not be so raw - it is unexplainable. All of the stories inspired me - the ones that touched me deeply - Doug Bonderud and Crystal Anderson; and Lynn Chouinard. To everyone who gave of themselves foro this story - you made it so intimate...and to Erin Anderssen...a beautiful job.

  63. Brenda Pinder Parsons from Barrie, Canada writes: To Erin & Moe and your support team at the Globe, You should be very proud of your work. You have touched many people in a positive way and motivated them to make some positive changes in their lives and relationships. To Adam (#50) - I, too, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer and 14 years (5 surgeries and lots of chemo) later, I would like tell you that all things are possible.... do what you can to make your body as strong as you can, ask lots of questions, don't accept all the answers and make the most of every moment. Good luck.
  64. Fiona Schulte from Toronto, Canada writes: Ironic that the day this article came out was my mother's birthday. She would have been 60. So I couldn't bring myself to read the article until this morning - they say the first year is the hardest, but I am finding as my sisters and dad and I approach the 2 year anniversary that it hasn't got any easier. I can identify with many of these stories. And I applaud the strength and the courage of those who have survived - and even more so for those who have died. But I have a special place in my heart for those who have been left behind - because that is not an easy fight either.
  65. J R from montreal, Canada writes: I read every single word on every page of the Focus section this past Saturday. I was completely mesmerized by the humanity of each and every individual whose story was portrayed. Thanks to everyone (and their families) who shared a little bit of their lives with us. Supremely well written and affecting, this series has helped us better understand the rage, fear, hope, loneliness, pain and sometimes unexpected pleasures that those afflicted with cancer can experience. I am attributing the (few) negative comments on this forum to an outright fear of confronting deeply personal and difficult issues. Please get over it. People whose lives are affected by diseases such as cancer, directly or indirectly, need and deserve compassion and support. Again, a profound than you to all who participated in the G&M’s initiative.
  66. Les Eby from Fergus, Canada writes: Hi,
    This is my first time on any chat kind of thing on the internet. I don't know if I have to type my name inside the box for people to see who I am. I hope every thing works out.I just happened on this site tonight. I wanted to give these people some hope for their own health and for anyone else they know is struggling. Please go to and see what good things happened to those people that went the natural route. Of course I can't promise the same thing will happen to you as it did to these people but they did give it a try and got results. If you an interest in knowing more, please sent me an email. Have a great day.
  67. E R from Windsor, Canada writes: 1996, My mother announces at our monthly dinner outing that she has ovarian cancer. She is dumb founded because she was told years earlier she had her ovaries removed during a hysterectomy. She had been on estrogen and whatever other supplements. The biopsy was bumbled, while the needle was being removed it was pressed down again emmiting its contents into surrounding tissue according to her as informed by the nurse. Months later during her operation to remove the tumor it was found that small areas of cancer were throughout her abdomen. Draining containers of yellow infection and watching your mother slowing die of cancer, vomiting her own excremate because the cancer is blocking everything in her abdomen is indescribable. To see the one who bore you, the one who was there and took away your hurts as a child suffer like that and there is nothing you can do for her, except LOVE her, the feelings of helplessness, sorrow .............................. I am so glad I have Jesus, it is His strength alone that got me through and gave my Mom peace through it all.
  68. Todd Wong from Vancouver, Canada writes: I am a 17 year cancer survivor. But in June 1989, I almost died from a large tumor in my chest. People said it was tragic because I was only 29. Thankfully, I had a 'second chance.' My near-death health crisis also taught me how to live. Whether we or our loved ones live or die from cancer, whether cancer research is successful or a failure... the only thing that really matters is how we personally handle ourselves. We can blame the disease, the doctor, the health system or ourselves. Sometimes we react helplessly or angrily. Sometimes we are proactive in our healing, our dying, or our lives. Do we live lives of compassion, empathy and love? Or do we live lives of selfishness, greed and hate? I had 5 months of chemotherapy. I did my visualizations. My mother studied and performed reiki and therapeutic touch. Later, I studied health psychology and medical anthropology for my university BA. Every person will choose a path that they feel is best. Cancer is a physical disease - but healing also has psychological factors. Why do we spend $$ on sports psychologists so athletes can win gold medals when we dont spend $$ on health psychologists, coaches or social support groups to help people save their lives, or help their quality of life? Since 1993, I have been a Terry's Team member, cancer survivors who speak at Terry Fox Runs as living examples that cancer research has made a difference. I believe this. The truth about cancer is revealed in how we react to it, or become proactive in our own life, our own healing, or even our own death. The real tragedy of cancer, is that so many people try to avoid the topic, and take life for granted. Thank you to the G&M for a window into the world of cancer patients and survivors.
  69. Tammy Levesque from Canada writes: My daughter at the age of 5 years old was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L) in January of this year (2006) while vacationing in Northern Ontario. She has been treated by C.H.E.O (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) in Ottawa. Never in a million years would I have thought Cancer. No one in my family has had cancer and growing up I've never known anyone to have Leukemia. The ordeal you go thru begins the minute you arrive at the hospital, and will continue for the duration of treatment, in my daughters case the next 2 1/2 years of her life. Not knowing anything about the illness my daughter might have made me feel weak. Had I known any information prior to her diagnosis, it would have helped in making me feel a little less stupid. I had to ask the question to the medical professionals if Leukemia was a type of Cancer. On January 13th, 2006 at 5:30 pm after the doctor told me my daughter was diagnosed with A.L.L, I thought we were one in a million who were going thru this experience. But to my dismay when we started as an out patient, was when I realized, it’s more common then we are led to believe. On that cold day in January life changed dramatically. A single mom, a new owner and the operator of a small business, trying to survive in this world was hard enough. Nothing prepared me for what was going to be my now new life. 8 months away from our home, the financial difficulties we have been faced with, trying to return to a life when time has stood still. Its those stories that should be published. I am not the only person going thru this, I've met other families and hear the stories of those who have had to claim bankruptcy, sell thier homes, but we continue to have a happy face on for our children's sake. . If newspapers like the Globe and Mail would publish more stories on illnesses and what the families are faced with medically, financially and emotionally, it could educate the next person faced with this situation.
  70. Gwen Nowlan from victoria, Canada writes: Can you imagine what could happen if on one day every year people who worked could sign up to donate 1 hour of pay(or more) that would be used for research? There are over 31 million people in Canada, for example if 1/2 of them were working and made a minimum of $10.00 an hour and donated only 1 the math 15 million x 10.00 ....
    To date the Terry Fox has done over 360 million and it has taken years. Rick Hansen, Cancer Society, the list goes on.
    How many people would donate just one hour in a year, what a difference it could make! We can look at this as indvidual stories - mine included or look a little bit wider and know that when you donate you are helping the people in your family, community, city, province, country, your world
  71. susan fitzpatrick from peterborough, Canada writes: Are there any up to-date articles on this subject. These have all been post in 2006
  72. susan fitzpatrick from peterborough, Canada writes: This is to Gwen do you think with all the money that has been donated, to the cancer society, that they would by now have a cure, I know my friends and I always buy one of the hundred dollar tickets and how many others.

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