Tanya Jessome

Tanya Jessome

“When I was first diagnosed with bladder cancer, I was absolutely devastated. I was only 38 years old and the word ‘cancer’ was terrifying. I was a young Mom of three, living in Bras d’Or, and I wasn’t ready to battle this disease. It was May of 2014, but it feels like it was just yesterday. That’s probably because just in March of 2020 more cancer was found and I need treatment again.

Going into the hospital for chemotherapy in April and May of 2020 has been scary. I know I’m immunocompromised, so I’m in fear of my life, but I also know the staff are taking care of me and have my health and wellness as their first priority.

We need your help. We need your help to build Cape Breton’s new Cancer Centre. We need your support to make sure people, like me, can beat this and that the staff who are saving my life have access to all they need. You can be the reason my fears subside and my confidence in beating this disease again are better than ever.

At 38, I was focused on being a good Mom. I was working and doing normal things. I was having dinner with friends, taking my son, six-year-old Sam, to hockey practice. My daughters were 8 and 19. A bladder cancer diagnosis threw my life into a tailspin.

I learned that it was treatable, but not necessarily curable. I was told the incidence of recurrence was much higher than some other cancers. In fact I’ve been coming back to the hospital every three months since I was diagnosed.  That probably saved my life.

Being close to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre was essential in my healing. At that time, the cancer centre was already at capacity. They were treating more people than it was built for, but they worked so hard to make sure I felt like I could beat this and put cancer behind me.

If I could highlight one thing that has made all of this more manageable and emotionally easier, it would be the fact I was treated close to home. I had my surgery and 30 rounds of chemotherapy here in Cape Breton as well as all my check-ups too. Coming back four times a year, I only have to drive from Bras D’Or. That’s how we discovered the new tumors.

I’m nervous to battle cancer again, but I take comfort in knowing I can do it close to home. I’m so grateful we have an incredible cancer centre in our community. The medical and clinical staff are amazing and work so hard, focusing on my wellness.

This is our opportunity to build a world-class Cancer Centre that will exist to treat future generations. To make sure that Cape Breton cancer patients have access to world-class cancer care, the Foundation has launched a major capital campaign to fundraise for cancer care at home.

Over the past decade, knowing the importance of cancer care in my community, my family has fundraised to give back.  My son, Sam, has raised more than $40,000 since 2016 through the Because You Care Cup. He knows the significance of having cancer care – close to home. All three of my children do.  You are already a hero to me, because you give

My children, now 12, 14 and 25, worry for me. But, I worry for them. I don’t want to have to think about their future possible cancer care, but the likelihood that another family member of mine will be diagnosed is high. Last year, more than 1,900 new Cape Bretoners were diagnosed with cancer. That is terrifying, but your support eases my mind. Your generosity offers me a sense of comfort, because the new cancer centre will provide better detection, treatment options and overall care for Cape Bretoners.

I’m ready to take this battle on, but I can’t do it aloneI need our community to help support the thousands of cancer patients who are fighting every single day in Cape Breton. I need you to think about how your support could save my life, or the life of my granddaughter in 30 years. Your gift will make cancer care better for her and her children.

This new diagnosis is just a chapter in my life. I won’t let it define me. 

With your donations you give my children’s children and your own family a fighting chance.  Your generosity can make the difference we sincerely need.  Thank you.”

RadioDay is October 8th, please tune in to hear more of Tanya’s story and the stories of other Cape Bretoners, who you are helping with your generosity.

To make sure the next patients have access to important cancer care, please give today. Your generosity can make all the difference in the world for the next patients in need. 

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