Brigitte Crane is certain she wouldn’t be alive today without the equipment donated to the Cariboo Memorial Hospital by the Hough Memorial Cancer Society.
Thanks in part to Hough, Crane is a four-time cancer survivor. In 1966 Crane was diagnosed with ovarian cancer; in 1996 she was found to have bowel cancer and then in 2007 she was diagnosed with skin and kidney cancer.
Crane was diagnosed and given follow-up care for three of those cancer treatments at CMH. Surgery was also performed at CMH on two occasions. Like many others, Crane has been a benefactor of the work of the Hough Memorial Society that provides cancer-detection equipment to CMH funded by the community’s generosity. For that Crane’s gratitude is boundless. Through the years donated equipment has included endoscopes and gastroscopes, both of which were instrumental in Crane’s diagnosis and follow-up treatment and meant she didn’t have to travel to a larger centre to receive care. Crane says matter-of-factly without the scopes, “I’d be dead.”
But Mary-Jane Engstrom, a society board member, says the society is finding it an increasing challenge to meet the diagnostic equipment needs of the hospital given the economy. The society used to hold three major fundraisers annually; however, this year it dropped its bed race event. Since the society’s inception in 1972 it has raised $3 million for equipment purchase. In 2010, the society’s purchases included a digital colonscope, to check the colon for cancer, a gastroscope, to check the stomach, a machine to check the gall bladder and pancreas for cancer, a microscope to check blood smears for leukemia, and a platelet agitator for mixing platelets to give to cancer patients.
“It really is a boon to the community to have the instruments and to have the doctors who can use them. We’re really lucky,” Engstrom says.
The most recent purchase by the society has left its coffers in an unhealthy state and the society is hopeful that its upcoming fundraiser will change that. “It’s slow for everyone for any charity group because people just don’t have extra funds,” says Engstrom, adding recently the society sent out 60 letters requesting funding and received a positive response from one. A fundraising barbecue, at which Crane will be cooking, will be held June 18. M&M Meat Shops has donated the food and the barbecues to the society for the day-long event and all proceeds from sales with go to the society. The event will be at the store from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Engstrom and Crane encourage all community members to attend.