In the spirit of community, friends, family and co-workers are rallying around the family of Mark and Margaret Bouchie to support them in a time of need.
The family has racked up some very serious medical bills, and to help them a Dinner Funny Money Casino night is being held at Rosedale Hall on Saturday, April 24. The event includes supper by Double D Catering and lots of gambling fun. As they fight their battle with cancer, Mark Bouchie is grateful for the support his family has received.
Mark, a corrections officer at the Drumheller Institution, and his wife Margaret, who many will remember as previous owner of Acute Barber Shop, were dealt a blow in 2002 when Margaret was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer. Emergency surgery was performed to remove most of the tumor, and was followed up by chemotherapy and radiation.
She was stabilized.
The cancer recurred in October of 2008. After 10 months of chemotherapy, the treatment was not having its intended effects, and she was scheduled for surgery. There was a 6-7 week wait to get her in for her operation. Doctors along the way cited that allowing the chemotherapy drugs to clear from her blood as the reason for the delay.
“We had a difficult time understanding the long wait for surgery, as this was an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme which was spreading very fast,” said Mark.
Margaret’s health deteriorated waiting for the surgery, which was finally performed on November 16, 2009. In talking with the doctors following the operation, they were alarmed at how large the tumor had grown. When Mark pressed again about the wait, he was told there was a problem with bed spaces between oncology and the Foothills Hospital.
Margaret was put back on the same drugs she was using before the surgery, that were ineffective.
Losing faith in the Alberta health care system, and learning the tumor had grown back, and was affecting even more of her brain, a family decision was made to travel to Germany to seek a treatment called local hyperthermia and arterial chemo perfusion. After two trips to Germany, it was unclear if the treatment made much difference, and Margaret continued to deteriorate. On March 23, doctors in Calgary made the decision to stop all treatment, and refused to try a new drug called Avastin.
“Calgary wanted to immediately check Margaret into Palliative Care the next day,” said Mark. “A prognosis of three weeks left to live was given. It was a shock to hear such a poor prognosis and we refused to give in.”
The decision was made to try the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. They flew to Chicago and then St. Paul. Once they rented a car, they drove immediately to the Mayo Clinic after being lucky enough to book an appointment. A number of examinations and discussions later, the professionals at the clinic went ahead with Avastin. She was treated on April 2, and after consultation with doctors from the Mayo Clinic and Calgary oncology, Calgary would now administer the same drug they initially refused.
“Now Margaret has another lease on life and continues to fight against cancer and the other ailments from side effects,” said Mark.
Mark is thankful for friends and family that have been so supportive through their time of great need. He says his employer, the Drumheller Institution, has been supportive and compassionate during his leave of absence, and his colleagues organized the casino night fundraiser.
Through all of this, the family is facing a huge economic burden. The travel, lodging and medical expenses continue to add up. While Avastin is approved by Health Canada, Alberta Health Services at this time will not cover it for treating cancer in this situation.
Organizers hope they can cover some of these expenses for the family with the casino night on Saturday, April 24 at the Rosedale Hall. Tickets include dinner, a late night lunch and the participant’s first buy in of funny money. There will also be a silent auction where the funds will be dedicated to the family.
Bob Nimmo, who is helping organize the evening, said they have received great support from the community and from volunteers wanting to help on the night of the event.
For more information, to purchase tickets, or to donate an item to the silent auction, contact Bob or Leann Nimmo at 403-823-5160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bob asks that those interested in coming let him know as soon as possible, as they need to confirm numbers with caterers by April 19.