Your gift helps patients like Iris cross the finish line in their fight against cancer closer to home.

It was the biggest shock of my life.

Like many of us who live in Simcoe Muskoka, I’m a fit, active person and love the unique way of life we have here – access to trails, lakes, and ski hills right in our backyard. I’m also a mom of three fantastic children and have the world’s best grandkids. I love being a grandmother more than anything, but don’t let that title fool you. I’m also a triathlete and an Ironman. When I race, I often bring one of my kids or my teen grandson along – and see if they can keep up!

So, when I was diagnosed with rectal cancer, you could have pushed me over with a feather. I simply couldn’t believe this was happening to me.

But it was happening to me. The truth is, our health and wellbeing can change in a moment, whether it’s cancer, a mental illness, a traumatic accident, or a difficult pregnancy. And when it does, we need to know we’ll get the best care possible, right here close to home.

That’s exactly what I received at RVH. The moment my diagnosis was confirmed, my cancer doctor called me at work.

“We’ve got a plan in place,” he told me. “We’re going to take care of you.”

RVH’s dedication to our well-being became even more evident to me in 2022. I’d had a routine colonoscopy in 2019, which came back completely normal. Usually, I’d be screened every ten years. But during the pandemic, many people got behind on their screening procedures. So, when I checked in with my doctor in 2022, she suggested I do a Fecal Immunochemical Test just to be safe.

I’m so glad I did because those results were anything but normal. Immediately, the team at RVH sprung into action. I had a colonoscopy followed by the diagnosis no one wants to hear: cancer. Shortly after, I had an MRI and CT scan.

When it comes to cancer, early detection saves lives. I shudder to think of what would have happened if I hadn’t been diagnosed as early as I was. Let’s just say the outcome might have been much, much different and I have generous people like you to thank for access to the screening tools that saved my life.

Thanks to the amazing gifts RVH receives, they have a brand-new PET-CT scanner. This high-tech scanner allows them to be more precise in diagnosing cancer, and leads to quicker, more personalized treatment plans for patients. In fact, this is the first and only PET-CT scanner in the entire region, and it’s thanks to donor support.

This is just one example of how your gift today can continue to save lives. Supporting the Keep Life Wild campaign will help RVH grow and aid with our much-needed expansion while also help do things like purchasing even more leading-edge technology so patients can be diagnosed, treated, and get back to their wild lives, the life they love, sooner.

Thankfully, my treatment started right away. I went through 28 radiation sessions as well as chemotherapy. Cancer treatment is never easy, but the phenomenal care I received made all the difference.

By donating today, you’ll be a vital part in protecting our unique way of life here by ensuring that RVH can continue to provide world-class, lifesaving healthcare to everyone in our community. That includes expanding the size of the existing site in Barrie and building a new healthcare facility in Innisfil, the largest community in our region without its own local hospital.

You never know when a health crisis is going to impact you or someone you love. It was certainly something I never expected, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. What we can do is make sure we’ll receive the best possible care and have access to leading-edge treatment if and when needed.