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Gail S

 
Gail S.

Even though Gail S. has had cancer twice, she considers herself blessed. Blessed that her job as a vice-principal provided ample sick time to allow her to recover from her breast cancer; that despite living in a small community, she was able to see a specialist quickly when her GP suspected uterine cancer; that this second cancer was treated with surgery, without the need for chemotherapy or radiation treatments. “I am blessed that I didn’t get all of the horrible things that can happen,” she says.

That’s not to say that Gail breezed through her cancer experiences.  “Cancer changed my life. It made me more appreciative of what’s important—my family and friends—and made me more compassionate towards others who might not be as lucky as I was.”

One of those not as fortunate was her nephew. When he had brain cancer, for example, he struggled with the expense and time required to drive more than an hour and a half each way for daily chemotherapy. When he became too ill to drive, he had to rely on family, friends and the Canadian Cancer Society for transportation.

“For people up North, it’s even worse. I know the bucket isn’t full of money, but there needs to be more cancer centres,” she says. “We should be striving to offer the best in healthcare to everyone in Ontario. In the 21st century, everyone should be able to access cancer care regardless of race, religion, colour, sexual orientation or where they choose to live.”.