October 17, 2019
Thankful for cancer care close to home at RVH
Thanksgiving weekend at Renfrew Victoria Hospital included a special celebration of 25 years of providing cancer care services in our community.
In 1994, the first cancer clinic with specialists from Ottawa took place and the first chemotherapy treatment was given at RVH. This was made possible through a formal affiliation with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre.
“We felt the service would serve a need of the people in Renfrew and area who wouldn’t have to drive to Ottawa,” said Gerry Richards, RVH Board Chair at the time.
Over the past 25 years, RVH has provided more than 19,000 chemotherapy treatments and more than 50,000 mammograms.
“Patients and their families have been our focus and we hope we have made a difference in their lives by providing care closer to home,” said Randy Penney, RVH President & CEO.
Cancer patients testified to the importance of care close to home in an anniversary book published for the occasion.
“I couldn’t be more grateful. The journey hasn’t been easy, but coming to my hospital has meant the world. They’re so very professional and kind and it’s a wonderful facility,” shared Cathy St. Michael.
On Monday October 14, the hospital opened its doors to tours of the Oncology Unit, which was relocated and expanded in 2015, as well as the Medical Imaging, and Pharmacy departments, which also play integral roles in cancer patients’ care.
Chris Ferguson, VP of Patient Services, Rhonda Normandeau, Clinical Manager, Operating Room and Oncology Unit, Julia Boudreau, RVH Senior Vice President and Lisa Wherry, RVH Medical Imaging Manager were on hand to guide the tours.
Following the hospital tour, an ‘Amigos style’ community smorgasbord celebration dinner at the RCAF Wing was open to the public. The three amigos dinner was started in 1995 by Janet (Gillan) Robertson, Annette Miller and JoAnn McGregor to raise awareness and funds to support the oncology and mammography programs at RVH. Although the dinner had ended earlier and Robertson passed away from breast cancer in 2015, Miller and McGregor, along with a band of supportive volunteers, agreed to resurrect the dinner “one last time for old times’ sake.”
The community pitched in just as it did in the old days, reports Miller. More than 30 volunteers helped with planning, organizing and setting up prior to the event, donated food and donned yellow anniversary t-shirts to cook and serve on the day of. Another 30 individuals and a number of local restaurants and businesses also donated food or money.
In addition, Julie Laroque, Sonia Bergin, Mitch Desilets, Lola Sine, Khloe Bertrand, and Mary Etmanski provided wonderful musical entertainment throughout the evening, while Miss Teen Ontario East, Meadow Congdon, and runner up Mallory Delarge acted as gracious hostesses.
“We can’t say enough about the support we received for this event,” said Patti Dillabough, RVH Foundation Executive Director. “It’s an overwhelming feeling to have our community rally behind us, and we are grateful to everyone who contributed in any way.”
“It’s only fitting that we had this event on Thanksgiving weekend, an opportunity to give thanks for all that we have been able to achieve with our board, staff, physicians, strong support from The Ottawa Hospital, and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in our efforts to meet the needs of our patients and families,” stated Penney.
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