Margaret Salmo, BC
Throughout her life Margaret has always been there to help others. She enjoyed a long career in nursing while raising four children in Alberta and BC. Once her kids were grown and settled, Margaret continued nursing in the United States. When it was time to retire, she was living in southern California, but Margaret wasn’t ready to kick back and enjoy the sunshine. She volunteered for the American Red Cross and trained to be a first responder in disaster scenarios. It was at that point that her youngest son was suddenly left alone with three young children. Margaret, at the age of 70, uprooted her life and moved to the tiny village of Salmo, BC, to help the family.
Six years went by. Margaret created a life for herself in the remote town, located in the Western Kootenays, between Trail and Nelson. She was happy and healthy. The children were growing up and Margaret found a circle of friends. The winters could be tough, but she loved the beauty of the mountains, with her children and grandchildren close by.
Margaret’s life changed dramatically when she took a serious fall in the spring of 2017. She had two broken vertebrae and was in so much pain she could not walk. Tests revealed that the fractures in her spine were due to breast cancer, and then, a large mass was discovered in her pelvis.
Margaret needed to travel to Vancouver for a specialized operation to remove the tumour. It was imperative that she not delay. Margaret and her family considered the six to seven-hour car trip through the mountains. “Maybe I could have tackled it,” she reflects. But in her weakened state, still barely walking, the long drive, with the snow and ice of winter coming on, was a daunting prospect. It was her doctor in Nelson who recommended Hope Air.
“It was like a blessing that came to me,” Margaret says, “I call it the law of kindness. When you really need it, it comes around.”
“The communications with Hope Air were so smooth, friendly, and helpful,” she recalls. “My daughter accompanied me. We got to Vancouver and the operation was a success. The tumour was benign! When it was time to go home, there were big storms. The airport at Trail was closed for three days. Despite all the flight cancellations and rescheduling Hope Air kept our seats.”
Knowing that Hope Air is there to help, gives you faith.
“We stayed at the cancer lodge waiting for our flight home and we met so many people, from remote villages and islands all over”, recalls Margaret. “Knowing that Hope Air is there to help, gives you faith.”
Margaret has learned that new challenges lie ahead for her and her family, as the breast cancer has spread to her bone marrow. “I live my life one day at a time,” she says. “I am so grateful for the team that stepped in to help me, to everyone behind the scenes that was there for me and worked to give me this time.” She is focused on keeping up her strength as much as possible and spending time with loved ones. “Friends are always dropping in for a cup of tea,” Margaret says with a laugh, “They like to keep an eye on me.”