Louise Bird – Regina Cancer Patient Lodge
Louise Bird has beaten breast cancer twice. That is no small feat.
Her cancer journey has taught her many things. Most important is how much the little things matter when undergoing treatment.
During her first cancer diagnosis, Louise underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Near the end, she discovered another lump. Louise would go through it all again.
For people like her, there’s an added burden with their cancer journey. Louise lives in Wawota, SK, about 2.5 hours southeast of Regina. The life-saving cancer treatment she relies on can’t be done in her home town.
She needed to come to Regina and the Allan Blair Cancer Centre.
That’s a five hour round trip for Louise.
“My immune system was still weak and you were just more tired than what an average person would be. With all those factors, plus driving back and forth to Regina every day and the price of gas, it was outrageous. And I know it was because I did it for a little bit and just couldn’t afford it,” Louise says.
For cancer patients across southern and central Saskatchewan, there’s an alternative to commuting or expensive hotel bills.
It’s the Regina Cancer Patient Lodge across the street from the Allan Blair Cancer Centre. For 35 years, it’s provided cancer patients with a home away from home while undergoing treatment.
“Not only was it cost-effective, but it also was a better choice health-wise, and it was convenient,” says Louise.
The Lodge is $40 a night. Guests get a bed, their own bathroom and three hot meals a day.
For Louse, “it’s like an extension of your home when you’re undergoing treatment.”
There are 18 guest rooms. They are a mix of single and double occupancy. Patients who need to can bring a spouse or support person with them.
The facility is equipped with everything to make a guest’s stay as comfortable as possible. There’s a TV room, games room, fitness equipment, and a dining room. But what truly makes it feel like home are the amazing staff that work there every day.
For Louise, the shared experience with other guests meant a lot as well.
“There were other people who you could talk to who understood what you were going through. It was very much a family-like environment. You can basically do everything there that you would do at home,” explained Louise.
The lodge is now 35 years old and showing it’s age. There are repairs and upgrades needed for the heating and cooling systems. The original elevator also needs to be replaced. New furniture is needed for the bedrooms and vanities in the bathrooms. Support is also needed for simple necessities – like books and games to pass the hours and a new television for the common room.
Louise knows how important all of this is and that’s why she’s supporting the Regina Cancer Patient Lodge Renewal Campaign. She’s hoping you will as well.
You can also read more about Louise’s cancer journey by checking out our feature story on her HERE.