Watch video above: Ontario mom who fought to help cancer patients with funding has died. Cindy Pom reports.
TORONTO – Kimm Fletcher, the cancer-stricken Milton mother who had been fighting Queen’s Park to fund her drug treatment, has died.
Fletcher, 41, had been battling cancer since 2010. Her cancer had gone into remission but returned last September as stage three brain cancer.
She passed away peacefully Sunday night and, according to her husband, was ready.
“She’s fought as long as she can,” Scott Fletcher said in an interview Monday. “[Fletcher’s kids] knew there would be a day when it would happen.”
Fletcher had wanted the government to fund a drug called Avastin, as she felt it would help prolong her life.
“Without a doubt, would we be here, April 28th, without [Avastin]? It would have been sooner,” her husband Scott said.
Watch: Global News sits down with Scott Fletcher.
Fletcher appealed directly to Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews to fund Avastin but was repeatedly denied.
Fletcher paid for the drug out of her own pocket and through donations at a cost of approximately $4,300 per treatment. Six months of the treatment cost approximately $48,000.
(The family is now hoping to donate some of the money collected to others who need help.)
OHIP won’t cover Avastin to treat brain cancer. If Fletcher had lived in British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba however, the entire cost of the treatment would be covered by provincial health insurance.
Matthews said Monday her thoughts “are very much with [Fletcher’s] family” and touted her government’s record of funding cancer treatment.
WATCH: Past stories by Global News about Kimm Fletcher and Avastin
“We have a very rigorous process in place and for me what’s important is that we continue to fund these drugs,” she told reporters. “So we rely on evidence, we really on experts to make these decisions.”
“We still have tragedies like this that tells us there’s still work to be done,” she added.
A provincial committee reviews drugs that could be covered by OHIP. It has reviewed Avastin twice, each time concluding the drug had “not been proven to improve survival” Matthews said in October.
Fletcher had said at the time that she was hoping Avastin would give her a few more months with her husband and two young daughters.
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak said he couldn’t imagine what it’s like to leave “two young daughters behind.”
“That’s not the kind of Ontario I think we ever expect to see,” he said. “I expect Ontario to be first on the list for new drugs that would have given Kimm Fletcher more time with her daughters before she passed away. We can do a lot better.”
Funeral details announced for Kimm Fletcher