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Sunday March 16th, 2014

Posted at 10:00am

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In early July, Chris Hatt’s hero, the man he’d looked up to his entire life, and an all round “tough guy” began chemotherapy treatment for stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Since being diagnosed, Chris and his family felt the fear of a cancer diagnosis and the unknown path that lay ahead. But on that day in early July, Chris’ mother and father were greeted with a big friendly smile from Nettie, the parking attendant, given a warm welcome and words of encouragement from Pam at registration, and made to feel at ease by the entire team that would be there to help them through every step of this cancer journey. In particular, Chris remembers nurse Cathy, answering questions and making his dad laugh and smile. “To see my dad smiling during that time was such a beautiful gift”, Chris said.

On his dad’s second last day of treatment, Chris wondered how he could thank everyone who had made this difficult time so much more tolerable. That’s where the banana bread comes in. Several months back, Chris’s son had broken his arm, and as a thank you to the staff that treated him, his mother-in-law had baked them loaves of banana bread. Upon reflection later that night, Chris realized he’d have to bake a lot of bread, and that he really wanted to do much more.

Grow for the Cure was born and Chris with the amazing help and support of his family and friends vowed not to shave until he had raised $5,000 to help other families, just like his, living through a cancer diagnosis. Chris, his dad and their loved ones presented that donation to the Cancer Centre Foundation on Friday afternoon, and Chris can now shave his facial fur!

This donation will be designated to the Windsor Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation’s Patient Assistance Fund, a program that provides $75,000 annually to active patients of the Cancer Program who are experiencing short-term financial difficulty. The program is discreetly administered by the Social Work professionals in the Supportive Care department who exhaust all other funding options and assist patients with a financial assessment. The Fund helps to cover expenses relating to basic necessities, as well as medical related expenditures not covered by provincial or private insurance.

“What began as a simple gesture to thank the Cancer Program staff grew into so much more, and for that we are truly grateful to Chris and to everyone who contributed to Grow for the Cure”, stated Foundation Manager and Director of Development, Houida Kassem.

Happily, Chris’s father returns to work next week after having successfully completed his treatments.

Story by the Windsor & Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation

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