Far too many people in Westman have been touched by cancer in some way — an uncle, a mother or father, a sister, one of our children.
It is one of the most difficult, widespread and devastating diseases that our modern society has faced.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, this year alone in Manitoba there will have been an estimated 6,100 new cases of cancer diagnosed, and about 2,850 people will have died from the disease before the year is out.
Here’s the estimated breakdown by cancer variation:
• 800 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed this year, and 210 women will die of the disease;
• 750 men will have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 180 will die from it;
• Lung cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in this province, is expected to claim 690 people this year, with 830 new cases reported;
• And a further 870 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in men and women. About 330 will die of it.
Perhaps, then, it comes as no surprise that the fundraisers for Brandon’s A Sense of Home capital campaign ran into so few difficulties raising money to construct a home away from home for cancer patients who travel to Brandon for care.
As the Sun reported earlier this week, after 14 months of fundraising, the campaign wrapped up this month after organizers met their $2.85-million goal.
The funds will cover the cost of building the Murray House cancer treatment residence, construction of which began last month at 521 Frederick St., with completion expected by next summer.
The home will include two-storey windows, a sloped ceiling and eight hotel-type suites. Each of the eight bedrooms will have two beds — one main bed and one day-bed for visitors.
As A Sense of Home co-chair Laurie Murray told the Sun, the campaign was completely driven by public donations, with folks more than happy to contribute to such a worthy goal.
“It was really wonderful and it just demonstrated to me so much the heart of the people in the different communities in the Westman area,” Murray said. “It was never a tough-sell campaign.”
The Murray family story is much the same as so many others — Murray said her father died of pancreatic cancer, which prompted her to want to make a difference in the lives of other cancer patients.
No doubt, the motivation and passion were there to make the campaign a success — the fundraisers should be commended for their hard work and dedication for the speed in which they met their fundraising goals.
At the same time, we should all should take heart from this solid proof of the warmth and compassion that can be found within our community.