Cancer advocates, it’s time for us to get mad as hell

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  1. Theresa Marie Underhill

    You rock! Pat, you are what makes the world , not just the cancer world, a better place! Your tireless and creative, not to mention impassioned advocacy changed the world for all of us and I can’t imagine what else is in store!

    • Pat Kelly

      Theresa Marie, as the former CEO of Cancer Care Nova Scotia, you stood with advocates every step of the way, opening doors that had historically been closed, opening minds that long considered advocates as angry patients to be avoided, and championing the person-centered model of healthcare in your home province and across Canada. Where others pointed out the flaws (and I have plenty) and criticized the efforts, you always encouraged, always were willing to put your own career on the line and step into the arena.

      You’ve reminded me of a favorite quote by Theodore Roosevelt, from The Man in the Arena speech:

      “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

      • Gretchen Bingham

        Hi Pat,
        Just read this one – catching up more after “Bad Patient.” Excellent article.
        All to true.

    • Pat Kelly

      Len, you’ve always been a favorite among the many oncologists who stepped up to encourage patients as advocates. Thank you for the enduring support and encoruagement … Pat

  2. Maureen

    Well done, Pat.
    A very good article.

    • Pat Kelly

      Thank you to a very good friend and an exellent advocate for end of life care and kindness – you and Greg led the way in supporitve care when you founded Wellwood in Hamilton.

    • Pat Kelly

      Ola my friend – always encouraging to see your work in Latin America and now in the US – many lessons to be learned from low-resource countries who have established grassroots networks for cancer control – hope to see you soon.

  3. Cynthia Morton

    As the new CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) , and a former cancer patient, I applaud your demand that we as a country do more to ensure the patient is the voice that drives all of us in the cancer care systems acorss Canada to push for change. Our recently released Patient Experience report you note ,is not only the first of its kind but contains in it our call to action, that will drive our and our partners’ work across Canada to deliver results. you are right that PTSD is not well understood in the cancer journey and more must and will be done to deliver timely and tailored care through our call to action. Your advocacy is valued and necessary, thank you for staying in the fight. There is a seat at the remarkable CPAC patient and family advisor table for you, anytime.

    • Pat Kelly

      Great to hear from you Cynthia Morton. Your invitation is most welcomed – please sign me up.

      Next year, maybe we can report back to Healthy Debate on our progress.

      Kind regards,
      Pat Kelly

  4. Linda

    Interesting to hear about PTSD in cancer. I have to wonder how prevalent it is in diseases that have never received additional funding and attention from government like inflammatory arthritis! It has to be through the roof!

  5. Judy Birdsell

    Pat.. so sorry to hear that you have reason to get ‘back in the ring’! But are very thankful that you will. You have made a difference in the cancer field in Canada and as you say there is still much to be done!

    • Pat

      Hi Judy – you are so thoughtful to send this note, and for the lovely encouragements! I’m doing well, enjoying time with my daughter while in treatment, as she completes her residency in rural family medicine and palliative care here in Owen Sound.

      Thank you for taking time to connect and wishing you well.

      Kind regards,

  6. Bev Jacobs

    Pat: I remember you & Barb Sullivan starting Breast Cancer Support Services (It is now dead & buried). I also miss seeing you grocery shopping in Burlington.
    So sorry to hear that you are experiencing more health issues. I am certain you will handle this “problem” with the same fight and determination that you possessed with breast cancer. Good luck and I will keep you in my prayers. KEEP SMILING.

    • Pat

      Hi Bev – lovely to hear from you! I just sent Barb Sullivan an email today – we stay connected and watched the sad demise of the Burlington Breast Cancer group – and wondered what that lucky group did with all the money they made from the sale of a property on Brant Street – so unusual for a nonprofit to buy property …. still raisin’ hell … and smilin’ … good to be in your prayers.

      Big hug, Pat

  7. Barbara Sullivan

    I agree that yelling from the rooftops is necessary to create awareness but when you are directing your ire at bureaucratic healthcare organizations and expecting a positive response I think you will be disappointed.
    Sometimes sitting around the kitchen table, having intimate supportive discussions about the issues and making small differences in someone’s life is more rewarding.
    But, good on you. Get better and come back as Nasty Pat Kelly , Cancer Warrior.

  8. Mike

    Pat, thank you for writing this piece, I learned much from it. Cancer has been in my family and well as my friends. I was not aware of the PTSD association as you mention. It reminded me of this from a peer reviewed medical article and I think that often the health care system fails to accurately understand this:
    “All illness has both psychological and physical dimensions. This may seem a startling claim, but on reflection it is uncontroversial. Diseases don’t come to doctors, patients do—and the processes by which patients detect, describe, and ponder their symptoms are all eminently psychological. This theoretical point has practical implications. If we adopt a “bio-psycho-social” approach to illness generally, one which recognises the biological, psychological, and social aspects of our lives, we become less likely to neglect the treatable psychological origins of many physical complaints (from globus hystericus to full blown conversion disorder) and the treatable psychological consequences (such as depression and anxiety) of much physical disease.” Source: Butler C, Zeman AZ. Neurological syndromes which can be mistaken for
    psychiatric conditions. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;76 Suppl1:i31-38. Review. PubMed PMID: 15718219; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1765684

  9. Elisabeth Baugh

    Pat – So sorry you are on this journey again. And yet, as ever, you are a tour de force and an excellent writer! We are on a big advocacy campaign to change the outcomes of this disease, would love to connect with you when you are up to it.

    • Pat

      Good to hear from you Elizabeth – have been in touch with TMU and love to get invovled with Ovarian Cancer Canada – nothing stirrs me more than a big advocacy campaign – onwards!

      Happy IWD+1

  10. Bruce Smith

    Powerful message in these words of knowledge and wisdom! Pat this very article sets a presedence for many other outlets of conversation. The courage you took in your first experience with cancer proved that not only are you a warrior in the big battle but for me you are a “Joan of Arc” . To carry the worry of your country’s Cancer initiative of your shoulders while raising your beautiful daughters and showing women that not only did you fight your personal battle you were strong enough to put others ahead of your burdens. With much love and respect I thank you for being a wonderful influence too so many that you’ve never have met . It shows you have a heart made of love and the shoulders of a warrior Queen .

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