Don & Susan live on the East Side, an area Don has worked hard to protect. They have a place to stay for the short term, but will need a city apartment because this is not a short term treatment plan. They are now looking at selling the home they love, but know the market and it isn't going to sell soon.
Please help us raise the funds they need for medication and a Winnipeg apartment, so Don can be near the hospital, his daughter, and Susan can stay here with him. He's given so much to help others. It's our time to help him.
Here is a letter from Susan Sullivan...
“On Good Friday, my husband, Don Sullivan, also known as Jack Pine on Facebook, arrived home full of joy having just picked up his daughter to bring her to our little sanctuary nestled is the boreal forest a couple hours drive from Winnipeg. On the way, he told his daughter that he’d had some blood in his urine. Don immediately drove the 50 minute drive to Selkirk Hospital Emergency and came home from there with some pain killers, after the attending Doctor thinking he had a kidney stone, but the Imaging Dept at the hospital was closed. We were all worried about his kidney stone. The next morning Selkirk Hospital called and asked me to bring Don back right away for a CT Scan.
After the Cat Scan we waited for a while, and a doctor came and took us into the bad news room, shut the door, and said Don we have very bad news. Don was told he has bladder cancer, that has “metastasized”, his pain was not a kidney stone, it was cancer pain. We were told that he would have bladder surgery. In addition, he will need,to undergo extensive Cancer Care treatment in Winnipeg.
Both Don and I are seniors and both retired on a small fixed income government pension. Don has given his life to social justice issues and is a strong advocate for the environmental, which really is a very low paying job. He was awarded with a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for dedicating his life to his country and its environment, water, trees, people, and his tireless work to protect the East Side of Lake Winnipeg.
Don and I live in a small house, in cottage country, with our little dog Rio, in cottage country on the East Side of Lake Winnipeg Manitoba.
As Don's spouse, I too have on going serious health issues from complications from a head injury from a bad car accident at 42, Now 67, I was also recently hospitalized for a Takotsubo Heart Failure, and still in recovery. Orders from my Doctor is no stress, go slow, happy thoughts or your heart will fail again, pretty hard to do under Don’s current circumstances. He has been as my caregiver for the last five years.
As a loving spouse I am trying to advocate for Don's best interests as we navigate the Manitoba healthcare system together and do all that is required of me as a caregiver living in rural Manitoba, but due to my own health related issues, I am not strong enough to do all that is required of me and where there is little to no support services offered because we do not live in an urban centre.
We have both come to the realization that in order for me to be the best possible advocate and caregiver for Don we will need to relocate to Winnipeg to get the kind services Don needs and deserves, but are just not available where we live. We need access to Cancer Care Manitoba team and services, there is no team and or support services available in East Beaches cottage country, The closest ‘team’, which is an outreach office for Cancer Navigation, is in Selkirk, still an hour away.. No help or assistance will come to our home. The government of Manitoba has failed to provide the same types of services to people that don’t live in urban centres in Manitoba.
This is a pretty disheartening situation, to not be able to access what Cancer Care patients are afforded in major urban centres in Manitoba, We now have to leave the place we love to get Don the kind of treatment and support services we both needs and deserves.
My goal is to raise enough funds to help offset the cost of renting a place for the both of us and for our little dog Rio for a year of treatment in Winnipeg and for Don to reconnect with friends and be close to his daughter.
Don and I are on government public pensions, there is not enough household income to rent a small place close to Cancer Care in Winnipeg while also paying our monthly expenses on our home in Lester Beach.
While selling our little house is our preferred option it takes, on average, 2 to 3 years to sell a place in the area we live as it is cottage country and our need to relocate to Winnipeg is immediate.
For anyone out there that has gone through this experience themselves or was a caretaker for their husband, wife, child, parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, you know what Don is facing.
It is humbling and very hard to ask for help if you are a proud independent person. Don and I have to set that pride aside and ask you to please consider contributing to raising funds so we can rent a place close to cancer treatment in Winnipeg. He’s given so much, he’s given his life, hopefully we can give to him to try to get him to Winnipeg so he can avail himself of all the treatment and support services that Cancer Care is willing to grant him.
For those who don’t know where Lester Beach is, it’s a sleepy little enclave in the forest that is busy with summer cottagers north of Winnipeg. Don moved here so he could be close to the work he was doing to ensure the World Heritage Site would be successful. It has a small community hospital in Pine Falls about 35 minutes. Pine Falls can’t help us, even Selkirk Hospital which is an hour away, can’t help us, we have to get to Health Sciences Cancer Care.
This is about a 4 hour driving round trip with normal traffic. Don can’t drive and I am not well enough to do the driving for him. There is no community transportation in Lester Beach.
Don’s treatments are beginning with the week, week and a half within the day of diagnosis and we need to get him into a place to live where he can reap the benefits of a nurse to attend him at home (not available where we live), transport to and from all his treatment dates, all the cancer support services available in Winnipeg, that are not available in way shape or form for an East Side Lake Winnipeg resident.
Meet Don Sullivan and learn what he is about through this interview, his passions and how much he has given to ‘us’
Don is a photographer and has shared his photos of this area he loves so much and has dedicated his life to, here’s a URL if you would like to look.
I hope you can find it in your heart, to help Don’s battle with cancer, it’s going to be the biggest fight of his life. “
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