Tammy St. John's, NL
In October of 2015, Tammy left work for what she assumed would be an appointment that was no longer than 15 minutes. She said goodbye to her co-workers and ensured them she would not be gone long. Tammy did not return to her desk until eight months later.
Before this appointment Tammy was having blurred vision. She did not think much of it and just assumed she would need new glasses. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Tammy was given a diagnosis she was not ready to hear at age 44. Her doctor found a tumor behind her right eye, which had detached from the retina. She was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, a rare form of cancer with a possibility of growing to her liver, lungs and brain. Tammy was in disbelief. She was shocked and unsure of what to do next.
Tammy was given two options. Since the treatment she needed was not available in Newfoundland and Labrador, she could either go to the treatment centre near her home and have the eye removed or travel to the Princess Margaret Centre in Toronto.
Tammy, who was still trying to wrap her head around the diagnosis, now had to tell her children and the rest of her family she would have to leave home. Tammy’s daughter, who had just begun her nursing career, put her life on hold to go with her. Only a few days after the diagnosis, the arrangements were made at the hospital in Toronto. This entire process happened very quickly and Tammy was feeling extremely overwhelmed.
I was not financially ready for this. Flights? Hotel? I had no idea what I was going to do.
Tammy’s doctor suggested they call Hope Air. Within hours of making the initial phone call to Hope Air, the flights were booked, they had received their itinerary and they were on their way. This was the first flight of many. Tammy has traveled for surgery, radiation therapy and now for follow-ups. "Hope Air has taken away so much of the financial burden for my family and I.”
These days, Tammy still travels with Hope Air to Toronto for her checkups. Although she has lost vision in her eye, the cancer has not spread. Hope Air gave Tammy the opportunity to receive treatment at one of the best Oncology Centers in the world. Tammy is so grateful that Hope Air was able to take away some of the burden and stress of travelling for medical care.