Poster by Sarah Rankin
-by John Gillis
“Cancer touches everyone,” says Sara Beaton, board member of the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Foundation Fund.
“Whether it’s a loved one, a family member, a friend, or neighbour, it seems this disease impacts us all at some point in our lives,” Sara added.
Sara and her husband, Raymond, of Mabou, were among a small group of organizers behind a benefit dance last April at the Mabou Hall to help raise funds for the palliative care room at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital. Another couple very much involved in that initiative last year was Art and Bernadette LeBlanc of Belle Cote. Sadly, Bernadette passed away from her long-term battle with cancer in recent weeks.
Bernadette had one final request however, according to Art, and that was to see the funds raised from this year’s Easter dance to go to the ICMH Oncology Department. Art told The Oran this week that it very much pleased her when she learned that her wish would be granted.
Easter Sunday, April 21st, at the Mabou Hall, many of Cape Breton’s finest Celtic musicians will entertain once again for the dancers and for the cause. It’s an adult dance, 19 year of age and over.
“There was a great vibe, a great atmosphere in the room that night and we hope to see that again this year. We hope to raise above what we did last year,” Sara added.
Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night and music will start very shortly after that. There is no admission but all donations raised at the door will go to Inverness Oncology/Cancer Care.
The line-up of talent for the dance will certainly get many feet moving in the room: Among the musicians slated to perform are: Howie MacDonald, Glenn Graham, Rodney MacDonald, Shelly Campbell, Joe MacMaster, Donna Marie DeWolfe, Bonny Jean MacDonald, Derrick and Melody Cameron, Kenneth MacKenzie, Patrick Gillis, Mac Morin, Allan Dewar, Mary Elizabeth MacInnis, and Dawn Beaton.
The Canadian Cancer Society figures show that cancer rates continue to rise in Canada.
The Cape Breton Cancer Centre at Cape Breton Regional Hospital is slated to expand to more than double in size to 65,000 square feet from its current 25,000 square feet, which is very necessary, due to the fact it has already exceeded its capacity and given that other older CBRM hospitals in New Waterford and North Sydney will soon be closing – to be replaced with community care clinics.
Based on 2010 estimates, the Canadian Cancer Society says one in two Canadians (49 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women) is expected to develop cancer during their lifetime.
Many cancer patients in Inverness County have difficulty arranging to get to Sydney for treatments, especially in winter.
Given the above facts, it’s all the more important that hospitals like Inverness can treat cancer patients closer to their homes.
However, cancer patients say that Inverness has only two chemotherapy chairs available at the moment and it is hoped that the hospital will find space to consolidate and/or create a more functioning space its Oncology services for patients and staff.
Morley MacNeil is chair of the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital Foundation.
“It’s always a struggle to get government funds for big projects. We don’t have a big area and big population to draw from. We’re just so pleased that the musicians and the community is coming together for this very important initiative. We simply can’t thank them enough,” MacNeil noted this week.
MacNeil says plans are in the development stages and are still in the works to make improvements and expand capacity in Inverness Oncology.
Art LeBlanc says he hopes that the dance will draw more attention to the needs in the community. Art was so pleased last year when concerned citizens in the Celtic music community in Boston rallied to hold their own fundraising dance for a contribution to Inverness Palliative care room. Over his wife’s prolonged battle with cancer he’s seen many improvements to treatments and he’s hopeful that this will continue as well to ease the burden on cancer patients and their families.
Even if you can’t attend and enjoy the dance, donations can be made at the door at the dance or to Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital Foundation Fund, c/o Oncology Department. Sara Beaton says she can also arrange E-transfers.
For more information contact Sara Beaton at (902) 258-5262; Morley MacNeil, chair of The Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital Foundation at (902) 248-2454; or Brenda Rankin MacDonald at the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital Foundation at (902) 258-5415.
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