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EDITORIAL: Book of Hope and all cancer patients deserve all our support


This week we talked to Agnes Pascal of the Inuvik Local Cancer Support Group about her new project, the Book of Hope.

She says the plan is to interview a number of NWT cancer survivors and learn their stories to serve as inspiration for new patients beginning their treatment to help them see through the fog.

This is a fantastic initiative that deserves our support. I think it’s safe to say no matter who, where or how old you are, we’ve all been touched by cancer in some manner.

While the chances of surviving cancer are higher than they’ve ever been, people are still being diagnosed every day and likely will be for the foreseeable future — we’ll likely have the world immunized against Covid-19 long before cancer is defeated.

In the meantime, from leukemia putting children in hospitals for years to prostate cancer killing men by the dozens to breast cancer affecting most women later in their lives, the best we can do is stand together against cancer and show our support to those facing the disease.

Not just the book project itself, but Inuvik’s cancer support group itself deserves more recognition and support from the community.

As we are by-and-large a community of Elders and people approaching Elderhood, issues that largely affect older populations, such as cancer, are the issues that will be most faced by the community.

Of course, our limited medical facilities means that in many cases patients will need to travel southwards to get chemotherapy and other treatment, which just adds to the already-astronomically high stress of living with cancer.

Factor in the costs of flights, accommodation and food during such medical trips and you’re left with the reality that fighting cancer is not just physically stressful — it can put a pretty big dent in your financial situation too. Even though our public health care system absorbs some of the cost, the out-of-pocket expenses for things mentioned above and others like medication makes one’s financial situation a potential factor in your chances of survival.

Even research on the disease continues to need to find new sources of revenue. Each year athletes, comedians, actors and other major public figures devote time to help raise money for research into combating cancer.

Having lost many a dear friend and loved one to cancer, I feel it’s important to emphasize how vital support from peers is for cancer patients, emotionally and otherwise.

I also feel it’s important to note how much pollution we all encounter in our day-to-day lives. While just about everything from processed meat to excessive drinking to smoking tobacco has been linked to cancer, it’s worth noting our bodies are also constantly bombarded with leftover atoms from the Cold War, microplastics that will still be here in thousands of years and particulate matter filling the air up in our cities. Our fight against cancer is not just a personal one, it’s a societal one.

So if you know someone involved in a project like this, or participating in the Run for Terry, a pink ribbon fundraiser or anything else related to cancer, show them your support however you can.

You could be saving a life.

About the Author: Eric Bowling

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