Cancer centre open after massive flood
Health: High River Rotary tournament raises $65,000 for centre
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 06:00 am
Foothills area cancer patients will once again be able to receive their treatment closer to home.
The High River Community Cancer Centre re-opened on Sept. 16 nearly three months to the day after being forced to shut its doors due the June 20 flood.
“We wanted to have the patients back here as soon as we could,” said Dr. Chris Powell. “The majority of our patients have been going up to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary to get their therapy. Some of the patients who live further south have been going to Lethbridge.
He said while the Tom Baker Centre is a wonderful facility, having Foothills patients receiving their care close to home lowers the stress levels.
“A lot of people aren’t comfortable driving in to the centre,” Powell said. “In High River, the centre is a comfortable place for them — they are seeing familiar faces and they don’t have to worry about things like parking or traffic.”
Patients from across the Foothills, including Okotoks, Black Diamond and Nanton, use the facility. In 2012 it had up to 150 visits per month.
Although hopes were to have it opened sooner than later, Powell said everything had to be up-and-running before it got the go ahead.
“Initially we had hoped to get it open really quickly but then we started looking at the logistics of needing a pharmacy that was up to date on handling chemotherapy and had all the equipment,” Powell said. “At that point we realized it would be a longer period of time before we would be up and running again.”
The flood came in the midst of the Cancer Care Close to Home campaign, a joint venture of the High River and District Rotary Club and the High River and District Health Care Foundation.
The goal is to raise approximately $1,000,000 for the expansion of the centre in order to comfortably accommodate the patients, the four cancer chairs, the nurses, doctors and loved ones of the patients’ receiving treatment.
Its biggest cheerleader is Highwood High School teacher Scott Forbes, who has had more than 40 treatments at the clinic.
He said he did not even know High River had a cancer treatment until he went there as a patient.
“What is so impressive about the High River clinic is I have about a five minute-ride to the front door of the hospital and I get my lab work done right away and I get to speak to a physician — something you can’t always do at the Tom Baker Centre,” Forbes told a packed house at the High River Rotary Club tournament on Sept. 5.
Although a fan of the clinic, Forbes won’t be making as many visits in the future.
He told the audience he had just found out he had no more tumors. He will now go in for check-ups approximately every two months.
The golf tournament raised $65,000 for the Cancer Care Close to Home campaign, according to tournament chairman Ken Warner.
“That is amazing — especially since we had considered cancelling it altogether,” Warner said.
The tournament was originally scheduled for July 18 at the Highwood Golf and Country Club in High River but was cancelled due to the flood.
“When I was standing on Sobeys roof waiting to be rescued from the flood I knew the tournament was going to be canceled,” Warner said. “But we had to make it happen.
“Even if we didn’t make money we wanted to keep the tradition going.”
He added he never expected to make so much money as he and the other Rotarians did not want to ask the High River businesses community for funds because it had been devastated by the flood.
“After the flood, I hardly talked to anyone from High River,” Warner said. “What was amazing is, no one who previously committed pulled out.”
Warner said because the tournament uses 27 holes, the High River Rotarians were limited as to where they could go. He said Heritage Pointe Golf and Country Club went out of its way to make it happen.
For more information about the Cancer Care Close to Home go to www.highrivercancercare.ca