Canadian Cancer Society awards Charles Keliher medal of courage

Jocelyn Claybourne
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Canadian Cancer Society P.E.I. president Bill Whelan, left, congratulates cancer survivor Charles Keliher on receiving the medal of honour, a national award from the society. Keliher won the award because of his remarkable survivor story and advocacy within the society, said Keliher.

For the first time in his memory, he felt completely and utterly helpless.

When he appeared in the prime of his life, Charles Keliher at 51 years old, was told “you have cancer.”

Keliher received the medal of courage, a national award presented by the Canadian Cancer Society recently.

“It’s very gratifying to win the award, there are many, many other deserving people, but I’m very humbled by even being nominated,” said Keliher.

Keliher was the only participant to receive a national award during the event, but eight divisional awards were presented, including the Eileen Fulford Memorial Award.

Canadian Cancer Society in P.E.I. president Bill Whelan said Keliher’s ability to share his remarkable story and stay involved with the organization made him a top candidate to be nominated for the award.

“Not only has he taken the time to share his cancer story with other patients, but he has been a really strong advocate for the mission of the society on P.E.I.”

Keliher said it’s important for those who have cancer, or have been affected by someone with cancer, to hear his story because it’s a successful one.

“I think the more people who know there are others out there, who are having the same experience, will recognize the importance to fight it. We’re beating cancer, it’s not beating us.”

Six years after being diagnosed and then treated for colon cancer, Keliher went to the hospital for what was meant to be his final CAT scan.

The doctor recommended they expand the scan to include not only his colon, but his lung, abdomen, pelvis and liver.

A month later, the results came back. Keliher’s cancer had spread, a tumour was found on his left lung.

Keliher had the tumour removed, underwent chemotherapy and maintained regular checkups, which included more CT scans.

In November 2010, a scan revealed another tumour on his left lung, this time, resulting in the lower half of it being removed.

After battling cancer three times in 10 years, Keliher has noticed a lot of changes in cancer treatments, in large part due to volunteer work, he said.

“Remember when we introduced the smoke-free places legislation? People said it would never work, imagine a Tim Hortons or a bar where smoking was going to be prohibited. This forward-thinking initiative was the result of the hard work, persistence, perseverance of the volunteers and

members of the (Cancer Society).”

During the volunteer awards ceremony, Keliher spoke about the costs of oral chemotherapy medication.

“Although it is not yet a reality, we are told and we are confident, that we are going to have a catastrophic drug plan here on Prince Edward Island so that people will not have to choose between medication or food.”

Organizations: Eileen Fulford Memorial Award.Canadian Cancer Society, Tim Hortons

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Hinson & Louise Ashe
    May 08, 2013 - 19:24

    Congratulations Cha! Keep up the good work. Nice to see you last December. Take care.

  • Bill Kays
    May 01, 2013 - 16:16

    Well, congratulations, but aside from this individuals courage, what else does the medal represent? What do these cancer societies represent? Are they cancer societies or ANTI cancer societies? They tend to legitimize the presence of cancer, it's ok that cancer is at epidemic numbers. You see, the industry that has sprung up around cancers is staggering, to say the least. People, STOP RUNNING FOR THE CURE AND START RUNNING FOR THE CAUSES OF THE CANCERS. We all know that carcinogens are being permitted in our environment because big biz pays off big gov. You can call this what you wish but we are dying from cancers, autisms, diabetes, etc., etc., at an ever increasing rate, a very alarming rate. But what do our legislators do? Nothing. Do they even attempt to rectify some of the blatant corporate abuses that lead to the deaths of so many? Let's put things into perspective? We are concerned about a "so called terrorist bombing" yet I do not see terrorists, but I DO SEE RECORD NUMBERS OF CANCERS ETC. So then, I believe that the real "TERRORISTS" are BIG GOV, BIG BIZ, AND BIG PHARMA. Together they kill more people than have died from natural causes.

  • Bea P.
    April 30, 2013 - 07:59

    Thoroughly deserved. Congratulations. Warm regards and best wishes for a wonderful, long, enjoyable life spent with your equally wonderful family.

  • Brenda Forrester
    April 30, 2013 - 06:22

    Terrific choice! Charles is a gracious and inspirational person.

  • else maclauchlan
    April 29, 2013 - 21:08

    Chuck, congratulations! Trust you keep well and God bless you

  • Dennis Halliday
    April 29, 2013 - 12:21

    Very well deserved!