Rally planned to save delayed cancer centre

A group calling themselves, Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre or “C5” is hoping to change the government’s mind.  Last month the health minister confirmed plans to build a new cancer centre in the city would be delayed because of low oil prices.  C5 plans to kick off their lobbying efforts with a rally at McDougall Centre at noon, Wednesday, January 28.

“We’re hoping to get everyone together in a show of support,” explains Heather Culbert. “We want to make sure that government understands that although there are some fiscal issues right now it’s really important to have a longer term perspective on things like a cancer centre.”

Culbert had been involved with the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s fundraising efforts for the new centre. The Alberta Cancer Foundation had planned to raise 200 million dollars for the project which was scheduled to begin construction next year.

“The government promised 1 billion dollars,  we were well on our way to raising 200 million dollars and basically that’s been suspended given the review the government is doing,” Culbert says.

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Jacinta Felske plans to attend Wednesday’s rally.   Felske recently completed 6 rounds of chemotherapy for breast cancer but because the Tom Baker Cancer Centre is overcapacity, she had to travel to several different places around Calgary for treatment.

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“I had a good support system at home but if you don’t and you have to run around to different parts in the city it gets confusing,” she says.  “If everything is just centralized – that would have been great.”

The owner of Compassionate Beauty, a business that provides spa services, wigs and prosethetics to women during and after cancer treatments also plans to attend the rally.

” I’m really excited,” Saundra Shapiro says,  ” I really feel passionate about our city and how we have a voice and we can actually use it to do something constructive.”

The health minister says the province is currently considering creative solutions that may allow the cancer centre project to proceed.

“We would like to do it but there are financial constraints we don’t have unlimited money ,” says Stephen Mandel.  “We think there are some great opportunities that we’re going to run up the ladder to the premiere to see what he thinks and I think we can maybe find some solutions quicker than people think.”

The Save the Calgary Cancer Centre Rally is planned for 12 pm, Wednesday, January 28th at McDougall Centre.

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