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When Doreen Kays was diagnosed with operable lung cancer in 2013, her positive demeanour was put to the test.
The 78-year-old Charlottetown resident credits Dr. Larry Pan, a radiation oncologist at the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, with allowing her to fully tap into her longstanding half-glass-full outlook on life.
“I cannot praise him enough,’’ she says.
“He had an incredible bedside manner. It’s just like he became like a brother. He’s a panda bear. You wanted to hug him.’’
Kays, an author and retired journalist, feels her journey back to good health was greatly void of stress and anxiety due to the professional and personal level of care she received from Pan.
“He was just so thoughtful and empathetic – and very knowledgeable,’’ she says.
“I had no doubt that this guy knew what he was talking about.’’
Kays found all of Pan’s staff to be wonderful as well, each offering her positive and upbeat interaction.
She heaps collective praise on Pan, critical care physician Dr. Ayadeji Harris-Eze and QEH staff for saving her life.
“It’s been almost seven years, but I can honestly say, ‘I am a cancer survivor,’ ’’ she says.
The QEH Foundation launched its 2019-20 annual Friends for Life campaign Thursday with the introduction of grateful patients like Kays.
This year’s campaign will focus on raising funds for a new CT simulator, used for radiation treatment planning in the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre at a cost of $1.5 million.
Pan, QEH’s head of radiation oncology, says the present simulator is past its life expectancy, which was purchased during the QEH Foundation’s Capital Campaign a decade ago.
“The new CT simulator will produce even higher-quality images to allow health-care professionals to identify the exact location, shape and size of the tumour to be treated,’’ says Pan.
“Without this equipment and technology, radiation treatment is not possible.”
Helping the hospital
To donate to the QEH Friends for Life Campaign, call the QEH Foundation office at 902-894-2425, go online to www.qehfoundation.pe.ca or mail to the QEH Foundation, PO Box 6600, Charlottetown, PE C1A 8T5.
Other priority medical equipment needs at the hospital include $455,000 for endoscopy, $252,000 for the provincial lab, $473,000 for ear, nose and throat treatment, $102,000 for the emergency department, $11,000 for the NICU/nursery and $118,000 for nursing units.
Dorothy Johnston, president of the QEH Auxiliary, presented the auxiliary’s gift of $100,000 toward the campaign.
A new structure of the campaign cabinet is aligned with the Islandwide approach of the campaign, which has a campaign lead representing each county.
“The P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre provides specialty cancer care and radiation treatment to all Islanders,” says Ed Lawlor, QEH Foundation chairman.
“We wanted our cabinet to reflect that, too.”
Valerie Docherty, who has been on the foundation board since 2018, will be the Queens County Lead.
Having had a cancer care journey herself, Docherty finds this role especially meaningful.
“I know that without the generosity of donors, I wouldn’t have been able to receive my own care close to home,” says Docherty.
Dennis Rix of Alberton is the Prince County lead, and former foundation board member Karen Creighan of Souris is the Kings County lead.