I have never met Michael Hewitson in person, but from what I've gathered from our short correspondence, cancer couldn't have touched a nicer guy. A young man, living his life, who even enjoyed cycling until rectal cancer put everything on hold. Some of you may know him from Bruce Power -- or may be seeing this email for the second time. Maybe you even put some money in the hat at the gate collection on your way to work.
I wanted to thank Mike for sharing his story, and for donating to my Ride to Conquer Cancer. But most importantly, I want to thank him for reminding all of us that you can never start screening too early. But, as we are too often reminded, you can catch it too late. The only person who will ever truly advocate for your care, is you. So take care of you.
To the Management staff
My Co-workers, Friends and Strangers
Of Bruce Power
My name is Michael Hewitson. My friends and co-workers organized and held the gate collection on my behalf, on March 10, 2010. I don’t know where or how to begin to express my overwhelming appreciation of the generosity shown that day. This past 6 months has been a roller coaster of emotion as you can well imagine, with endless trips to and from London and countless nights in hotel rooms down there while undergoing endless testing and monitoring. The expenses incurred through this time have just added up on top of everything else that is going on. I volunteered to take part in a cancer clinical study including 75 individuals across North America, with the hope that at the very least I could contribute to further education and a better understanding of rectal cancer through this trial, with perhaps new and hopefully improved methods of treatment for cases in the future. This has caused even more trips and tests at the London Cancer Research Center. We at Bruce Power are very fortunate as everyone there has medial coverage of some kind, but NO ONE IN THIS COUNTRY is more fortunate than Bruce Power workers when it comes to receiving a hand when in need. When Gord Young sent me an e-mail at 3:00 pm March 10th, there is no way that I could have been prepared for the words that it said….. “We’ve raised $12,525.17 …“ tears instantly filled my eyes, tears of joy for the first time in over 6 months.
We all know someone who has fought the battle of cancer and watched how it has turned their world upside-down. Believe me, I was a healthy, just turned 42 year old man when a trip to the Dr.’s office turned everything into a crazy tailspin. “You have cancer” are the harshest words I have ever heard. The financial burden had taken its toll as, I have been off work since September 2009, and with recent medical setbacks won’t be back before September 2010. My fiancé has also taken 7 weeks off from her work to be by my side through my 2 week hospital stay and to do the endless work of looking after my never ending medical and day to day needs once we returned home.
Emotions take an even harder toll when you don’t know what’s going on, whether you will make it or be a statistic. I’ve closed my eyes often, in severe pain, wondering if this was going to be for the last time, I make sure to call my son in Toronto and tell him how much I love him and hold my fiancé an extra while on these nights, trying to remain calm and as strong and as normal as possible. The mind is cruel when you have lots of time to think, along with relentless pain. When this gate collection came in, the money certainly meant a great deal, but just as important was the renewed faith that there are so many caring, generous, good hearted people that we work with every day. I haven’t worked at Bruce Power for very long, I work shift work on a small crew, so most of this money actually came from strangers, of course not only from Bruce Power employees but contractors, appendix A employees, restart trades people, their support staff and so many others. Money can’t buy the feeling of knowing that people have given through their hearts with warm wishes and their kind thoughts the way all of you people have. With your generosity we won’t have to worry about finances any time in the near future, we have covered the racked up credit cards and will have money left for future trips and lodgings in London. When all is said and done, any left over money will be donated to cancer research, someone else in need or any good cause that comes up that is cancer related, your generosity will definitely be passed on.
I do ask one more thing of everyone! Especially you shy men, If something doesn’t feel right don’t be afraid to get it looked after, 5 years ago this tumour would have been removed during a routine colonoscopy examination, I had no idea at that time there was a problem and wasn’t due for my first colonoscopy for 13 more years. What would have been a polyp had grown into a tumour the size of a soft ball, still with minimal signs, but the signs were there, I figured I was just getting older and not eating enough fibre, now it’s a year of sheer hell. What was so easily preventable if it had been detected… A 15 minute, painless colonoscopy while you’re knocked out is absolutely nothing compared to this….
Thank you everyone, so very much.
With a special thanks to Gord Young (Bruce A control mtce.), D-crew and all of the volunteers that dedicated their time to make this such a huge success.
Shanda, Mike and Joshua Hewitson