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Response: Cancer Survivor Hit with Fines for Driving Cancer Patients to and from Hospital

By Rethink Contributor March 5 2018

As a cancer survivor of more than 10 years, I consider myself to be one of the “lucky” ones. At 36 years old, and the mom of a 7 month old baby, I was diagnosed at a relatively early stage and had my supportive family and friends by my side. I traversed the Ontario medical system, slowly learning in dribs and drabs what my future with breast cancer would look like. There were many blood tests, MRIs, surgeries, injections, cat scans and doctor/specialist appointments. My visits to the hospital in that first year seemed constant. Again, I am one of the lucky ones. What if I had to find my way to the hospital myself and spend hours alone with just my own thoughts? I can’t even begin to imagine how much more difficult that experience would have been.

A friend recently shared an article from the London Free Press (from London Ontario), where she had read about a woman, who like me is a breast cancer survivor and was helping other people going through similar stressful medical experiences. I get it, because that is exactly what I wanted to do after my experience with breast cancer. I just wanted to “give back” and help women who were going though this awful experience. To me that desire to help was just innate.

You can probably imagine my shock at reading that this woman was being punished for simply accompanying these people to their medical appointments where she used her own vehicle and charged a nominal fee of $12 for a return trip to the hospital. She would provide comfort and support while they went also through some of the most trying experiences of their lives. According to the article the London City By-Law officers concocted a “Sting” operation to entrap this woman who was illegally using her vehicle to offer London, ON  area residents a very much-needed compassionate service.  She was handed tickets amounting to $2260 for the evil transgression of breaking a city by-law for “owning and operating an unlicensed vehicle for hire.”

As I read this I was so upset. How can the city do this to this woman (who is in my opinion is an absolute Saint) for giving her time and compassion to people who really and truly need it?

Meanwhile, the people who need this service, and often can’t afford to pay market rates of taxi or Uber type services, are the ones being hurt.

People who have not had a first hand experience with a life altering disease like cancer can’t begin to know all the challenges that cancer patients face. I just wish that we, as a society, would practice compassion and support the people who are doing their very best to help ease some of the difficulties these patients go through. Maybe one day these people will be inspired to follow in this lady’s footsteps and pass along their kindness and experience to others in need. This is the type of behaviour that I want to see more of in our society and something that we should all encourage.

-Reesa