Daugh­ter’s ill­ness leads mom to fight for EI changes

Too-skinny model de­bate turns to age.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIN POTTIE

V alerie Fin­layson re­mem­bers the un­com­fort­able feel­ing of sleep­ing in a hospi­tal chair and wear­ing pro­tec­tive gar­ments to avoid in­fect­ing her can­cer-stricken daugh­ter.

For al­most a year, the mother of three prac­ti­cally lived in­side the stark walls of a pa­tient room while her youngest daugh­ter, Stephanie, en­dured nine rounds of can­cer treat­ment.

The 18-year-old uni­ver­sity stu­dent and call cen­tre worker was di­ag­nosed with ad­vanced acute lym­phoblas­tic leukemia — can­cer of the blood — in Syd­ney on Jan. 27, 2008. She died Box­ing Day, the same year.

“Of all the chil­dren that were there, there was my­self and one other mother,” said Fin­layson, an early child­hood ed­u­ca­tor at Playschool Day­care in New Water­ford. “ The rest of the chil­dren were there alone.”

Fin­layson is hop­ing to change that. She be­lieves fam­i­lies de­serve fund­ing to al­low par­ents to sup­port their chil­dren while they are be­ing treated for life-threat­en­ing ill­nesses.

She re­cently be­gan the long process of con­tact­ing Canada’s 308 MPs and plans to write Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper in hopes of chang­ing the fed­eral Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance ben­e­fits pro­gram.

Fin­layson said be­cause of the risk in­volved in her daugh­ter’s treat­ment, doc­tors said Stephanie would have to travel more than four hours to Hal­i­fax’s Vic­to­ria Gen­eral Hospi­tal for in­tense and of­ten trau­matic chemo­ther­apy. It was ex­pected her treat­ment would last six months to a year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.