Receiving treatment in your home community can make a tremendous difference for Manitobans on a cancer journey. This is especially true for patients like 40-year-old Kelly Wiens who lives in Steinbach, Manitoba. Through a program known as the Community Oncology Program (COP), CancerCare Manitoba partners with all Regional Health Authorities to deliver comprehensive cancer assessment and treatment in 16 regional or community hospital clinic locations throughout the province, operating on a shared care model to provide the very best care for every Manitoba patient. Thanks to the ongoing support of donors the Community Oncology Program can host an annual Provincial Cancer Care Conference which provides professional development on cancer care for hundreds of health-care professionals working in oncology across the province. From pharmacists to nurses and family physicians, these conference attendees take knowledge back to their local communities which help them treat patients more effectively, closer to home. Patricia Bocangel, professional development lead for the program explained without the generous support from donors, this essential conference would not be possible.
“Donors of the Foundation have been simply exceptional in supporting us for many, many years. Their donations were once again a critical source of funding for this year’s virtual conference.”Donor support has certainly helped patients like Kelly who was able to receive treatment in his home city after doctors discovered large masses in his stomach late in 2020. Kelly’s journey began with tingling sensations in his hands and feet. His doctor suggested a CT scan and within 24 hours, he became a cancer patient. The conference donors help fund aids health-care professionals to be better equipped to support patients in their home communities. This conference has provided professional opportunities to health-care providers in rural communities and eases a burden on patients with cancer. “If I had to drive to Winnipeg, it would have certainly changed the dynamic of the day. It would mean having someone drive me, find parking, and include additional fuel costs. There have been so many benefits to receiving treatment in Steinbach,” explained Kelly. “The hardest part of this whole journey was telling my wife I had cancer. I was 39-years-old and have three small children.” But the family has faced the changes in their lives with strong bonds and a sense of humour.
“Having my support network and my family close at hand meant so much and allowed me to focus on my healing. We are truly laughing through the tears.”Kelly and his family are grateful for the ability to receive exceptional care so close to home. Donors’ generous commitment has been essential to help ensure all patients receive equitable care when, and where it is needed.