Ontario Regional Chief Beardy Shares Cancer Story

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Ontario Regional Chief Beardy
Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy - Photo by Brayden Pelletier

Early Detection of Cancer is Key

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Cancer has touched the lives of many Northern Ontario residents. There are very few families or communities where the impact of this terrible disease has not left its mark.

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy knows the importance of cancer screening first hand. Now he wants to share his story and his message to promote cancer screening with others, particularly First Nations people.

On March 17th, Chief Beardy helped to launch a cancer screening awareness video titled ‘Early Detection: The Path to a Good Life’ that features his cancer story.

Regional Chief Beardy and Brayden Pelletier
Regional Chief Beardy and Brayden Pelletier at National Aboriginal Day

“In 2013 I made an appointment with my doctor for a routine check-up. I was feeling fine, but my doctor sent me for a colonoscopy. My doctor told me they found the cancer very early, and they would be able to remove it” explained Regional Chief Beardy as he tells his cancer story.

“I was surprised when I first heard the word ‘cancer’. I thought to myself – where I come from, people don’t survive a diagnosis of cancer.”

Chief Beardy’s commitment to cancer screening saved his life because his cancer was caught early, when it was more easily treated.

The video, inspired by Chief Beardy, focuses on his story while also educating viewers about three provincial, organized screening tests for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Developed in partnership with Regional Cancer Care Northwest at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and the Chiefs of Ontario, the film was directed and filmed by Apple Wagon Films.

“These partnerships are key for success in promoting health in our region. This particular partnership is exciting for us because of Chief Beardy’s dedication and involvement in our community and region,” said Andrée Robichaud, President and CEO of TBRHSC.

Cancer screening is for healthy people

“In most First Nation communities in Ontario, cancer is often not found early enough. We are pleased to work with Chief Beardy to help him share his story and experience to promote the importance of cancer screening in First Nation communities” says Dr. Mark Henderson, Executive Vice President of Patient Care Services, TBRHSC and Regional Vice President of Cancer Care Ontario. “What’s really important about Chief Beardy’s story is that he said that he felt fine. Often, people think of cancer screening as something they should do when they don’t feel well, but screening is for healthy people before they show symptoms of cancer.”

In the video, Chief Beardy’s family life is featured – his ‘Good Life’. He knows that his life could have been in jeopardy had he not screened for cancer.

“I think it’s important for everyone to go for routine cancer screening. Through surgery, my cancer was cured and it did not spread any further in my body. Now I can continue to do the things in life that I hoped to do,” added Chief Beardy.

The video can be viewed at www.tbrhsc.net/GoodLife. Or, if you share the video from Thunder Bay Regional Health Science’s Centre’s Facebook Page you will be entered into a draw to win a prize.

Cancer screening saves lives. Get screened!

Ontario Regional Chief Beardy
Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy – Photo by Brayden Pelletier

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Men and women, 50 years and older who are at average risk, should be screened every two years using a ColonCancerCheck Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kit. Talk to your healthcare provider about when it’s time for you to be screened. For more information or for other screening options visit www.cancercare.on.ca.

Women aged 50 years and older should have a routine breast screening mammogram every two years. Women 21 years and older, who have ever been sexually active, should have a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer every three years.

A common barrier to completing cancer screening is limited access. However, the Screen for Life Coach travels to more than 60 different locations, including First Nation communities, throughout Northwestern Ontario.

The coach offers breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening to eligible women in more convenient locations.

For more information on the Screen for Life Coach, or to book your appointment call: 807-684-7777 or 1-800-761-7031.