It was the example set by others that first inspired Keith and Gail MacLeod to give. Today, Westmount and North Sydney natives are giving back with a generous donation to support the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation’s Cancer Care Here at Home campaign.
“Seeing the contributions of others has definitely helped us realize what an important cause this is,” says Keith MacLeod. “So now we want to help put the idea in the minds of others to step up and do something too.”
The couple’s $250,000 donation will help move the campaign towards its $10 million goal. Launched last November, the campaign is already three-quarters of the way to that goal.
There are few families in Canada who have not been touched by cancer in some way, and Keith MacLeod’s family is no exception. Her aunt recently died in Sydney after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Nova Scotia ranks third in the country for cancer diagnoses per capita with 6,900 people diagnosed each year, and rates are even higher in Cape Breton. Originally built to accommodate 16,000 patient visits per year, the current Cape Breton Cancer Center now receives over 45,000 visits per year.
The MacLeods live in Calgary, but the couple still spend much of their time with family and friends on the island. Keith MacLeod is currently Chair of the Verschuren Center for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment at Cape Breton University.
The couple believe Cape Breton residents deserve to receive their cancer treatments here at home, both to ease the financial burden of travel costs and to ensure patients have the warmth and support of family and community members as they go through a difficult struggle.
“Traveling when you’re sick is very difficult,” says Keith MacLeod. “When you have low energy, a four or five hour drive to Halifax – or a flight to Toronto – is a very difficult thing.”
The Cancer Care Here at Home campaign will ensure residents of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia Health’s East End have access to the vital equipment, patient programs, research and innovation needed to stay close. from home during some of the scariest days of their lives.
“The new cancer center will be a tremendous asset to Cape Breton,” said Keith MacLeod. “It will make life easier for many people during their cancer treatment.
“To learn more about the Cancer Care Here at Home campaign, contact the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation at 902-567-7752 or visit cancercarehereathome.ca.