SYDNEY, NS – Carrie Ann Maloney was not expected to survive more than a few weeks when she was diagnosed with stage four melanoma in 2018.
On Tuesday, she and husband Troy quietly held hands as a new fundraiser for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s Cancer Care Here at Home campaign was announced at Colbourne Ford in Sydney.
“Being stage four, I’m going to need treatment for the rest of my life, so being able to have these treatments at home is just amazing,” Maloney said.
“When you hear you have cancer, the first thing is, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do? Can I stay in Cape Breton? Do I have to leave? So being able to stay in Cape Breton -Breton, I think, will have a positive impact on everyone.
PROVIDE HOME CARE
The fundraiser – a vehicle raffle featuring a custom 2021 Bronco Outerbanks with a sports tent worth over $65,000 as the top prize – will be used to purchase equipment and fund support programs patients, research and innovation that will take place in the new Cape Breton Cancer Center currently under construction.
“It’s a fun way for us to raise money for a very serious cause,” said foundation CEO Paula MacNeil, adding that the Cancer Care Here at Home campaign has reached $6.6 million on its $10 million goal.
One piece of equipment the hospital foundation has been pushing for for years is a positron emission tomography (PET-CT) scanner. MacNeil said the foundation was raising funds for the $2-3million purchase cost and that having the machine available in Sydney would prevent up to 500 patients a year from having to travel to Halifax for a PET scan. .
Maloney made the trip to access the PET-CT scanner at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Center “a few times” and recalls a few “incidents” during those trips, including going through a snowstorm and almost missing his scanner .
“There was another time we were on our way to Halifax and they contacted us at our home phone number to say my treatment had been canceled so we didn’t know and when we got there they Said it was canceled and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get that one,” she said.
“In our experience, a PET scan is definitely something we need here in Cape Breton.”
LIVING WITH CANCER
The 48-year-old mother of three had her first contact with cancer in 2016 when her doctor removed a mole from her back. Two years later, extreme foot pain led his doctor to send him to Halifax for surgery to remove a tumor from his spine. A PET scan showed Maloney had 20 tumors in total: one in his arm, one in his leg, one in his lung, one on his spine and 16 in his brain.
After five rounds of radiation to her brain and spine, she was started on immunotherapy – a biological therapy that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells – a treatment she will continue to receive throughout of his life.
“I’m doing very well with the treatment I have here. I’m not working right now because right now I’m focusing on my family and making sure I stay healthy,” said Maloney, who said she and her husband of 25 years “were at pretty much in love with high school”.
The couple adopted three biological siblings in 2012 who are now 23, 14 and 11 years old.
“They are my biggest reason to fight (cancer) because we’ve worked so hard to adopt these kids to have a family and I won’t let cancer take over what I’ve fought for all my life. life,” Maloney said.
As his wife’s support person, Troy Maloney is grateful for the treatments available to them in Cape Breton and would like to see more with the expanded cancer center, which is expected to be completed in 2024.
“It makes things so much easier – packing the kids the night before, driving to Halifax and finding a hotel room, getting to treatment and coming home – it would make a huge difference to have (the PET-CT scanner ) at the cancer center here in Cape Breton,” he said.
GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
The hospital foundation partnered with Colbourne Ford for its first vehicle lottery fundraiser. In addition to the first prize, an early bird prize will be drawn on June 19 for two tickets anywhere Westjet flies and other prizes.
“We all have our own personal stories about the impact of cancer care – unfortunately it affects us all,” said Brad Jacobs, managing director of Colbourne Auto Group and former CEO of the Cape Breton Hospital Foundation.
“If family members can get the care they need at home, it has a huge impact on people’s lives – it reduces stress, reduces the financial stress of travel and reduces time away from your family. , so we are truly honored to be able to help support cancer patients and the community.
Ticket sales end on July 18 at midnight and the grand prize draw takes place the following day. Tickets are $50 each or three for $120 and can be purchased at www.winabronco.ca.
– Ardelle Reynolds is a multimedia journalist at the Cape Breton Post. Follow her on Twitter @CBPost_Ardelle.