Letter: Kamloops deserves its own cancer centre

Editor:

September marks the 40th Anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.

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Fox was an outstanding person who gave all he had to help others. He was a true Canadian hero.

A great number of people have had to deal with cancer since then, many of whom lived or live here.

How many Kamloops residents recall the provincial election campaign of 1991, when then-NDP leader Mike Harcourt promised that cancer centres would be built in Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George?

Upon winning the election, Harcourt’s NDP decided on only Kelowna getting a clinic — and Kamloopsians were furious.

Last month came an announcement regarding a new, $10.5-million PET-CT scanner being added to Kelowna’s cancer centre.

But there was no mention of anything new for our city.

Prince George has even received its own cancer centre, yet the population of Kamloops is greater.

Our population was good enough to merit consideration all those years ago and it has only grown, within the city and in the surrounding areas, during the past 30 years.

Yet still we are being ignored.

Do people realize what a person in Kamloops has to go through if they need treatment?

Some are diagnosed locally, while others must travel to the Coast or elsewhere. Chemotherapy treatments are now available at Royal Inland Hospital, but if you need radiation treatment, you must travel to Kelowna or Vancouver.

Those cities are not exactly around the corner. They are long drives for healthy people, never mind those who are ill. Is it fair to make a person suffer through that ?

Not only do they have the long trek, they have extra expenses for transportation, food, a place to stay and any other needs being that far from home.

They might have kids or pets being left behind, needing someone to look after them. They may have a business or job that they can’t afford to be away from so long.

Medical care in Canada is free, right?

Then why are Kamloopsians and people from our outlying areas having to incur extra costs while others have the care?

Kamloopsians should not be given the added stress of having to travel to Kelowna for care. Stress makes matters worse.

Nor should they be forced to leave behind their support system at a time when it is truly needed.

We want what we were promised three decades ago. Kamloopsians deserve their own full cancer centre.

Diane Czyzewski

Kamloops

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