Every dollar counts towards chemotherapy closer to home

Every dollar counts towards chemotherapy closer to home
Penny and Dale McSween.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall Community Hospital is one step closer to opening its anticipated chemotherapy unit with the help of the McSweens’ generous $20,000 donation.

CCH Foundation Treasurer Dale McSween has seen the recent significant contributions the Cornwall Seaway Lions Club, Rotary Club of Cornwall, Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group and Minimax Transportation have made to the chemotherapy program and was inspired to do the same.

“We chose to support CCH because health-care in general is important. Chemotherapy is just one of many we identify with,” explained McSween.

His wife, Penny, is celebrating her 10-year anniversary of being cancer-free.

For two decades, she had been getting regular mammograms as a precaution. But in summer 2005, Penny found a little lump. After undergoing a biopsy around September, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer – an advanced, aggressive and invasive form of the disease. The first rounds of chemotherapy followed.

“Everyone equates cancer with a death sentence. We had the perfect life, great kids, good job…in an instant our whole world changed,” said Penny.

She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy every two weeks for eight weeks, and then another drug that required either a triple dose for four sessions, or once a week for twelve weeks.

Through all the trauma, stress and sickness caused by the treatments, the couple was quick to sympathize with those who don’t have the accessibility close to home.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like for people who don’t have someone to take them to their appointments. It’s a whole other level of worry on top of everything else you’re going through,” said McSween.

Along with the taxing effects cancer has on the body both physically and mentally, the costs of parking and all the additional fees are something they’re familiar with as well.

“I don’t know how they do it,” said Penny. “We could afford it, but there are a lot of people with chemotherapy and cancer treatments that don’t have the money to pay all these extra costs. They should be able to come here and have it.”

Although their donation and support to the hospital was influenced by their personal experiences, the McSweens also emphasized and encouraged those to be proactive and educated, as cancer unfortunately can affect everyone. 

“There was no breast cancer in my family, and you know what? I got breast cancer. You have to be in touch with your body and understand subtle differences,” explained Penny. “Nobody is immune to cancer.”

The CCH Foundation is currently raising funds towards the $400,000 startup costs required for the chemotherapy program. The next fundraising event is the BDO Denim & Diamonds Patio Party coming up on Saturday, June 13 on the Nav Centre patio.

Tickets are available online at www.cornwallhospitalfoundation.ca or at Scotiabank on Brookdale Avenue.

For more information or to make a donation, contact Erin Killoran at (613) 930-4508.

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