Stroke of good luck
Grates Cove man undergoing cancer treatment wins sizable cash prize at hockey game
When Harry (Edward) Anthony of Grates Cove — the most northern community on the Avalon Peninsula — was given four tickets to the St. John’s IceCaps game versus the Worchester Sharks Nov. 13, he was excited to bring two of his children and one of his grandchildren to Mile One Centre to see the American Hockey League game.
He never imagined the visit would be a game changer in his and his family’s lives.
The newly retired 66-year-old, who is currently undergoing radiation treatment for early-stage prostate cancer diagnosed in August, received the tickets from the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation in St. John’s. They were donated by the IceCaps Care/Williams Family Foundation.
Harry decided he would purchase a 50/50 ticket at the game, informing his guests not to bother getting one themselves.
“I told them not to get a ticket because I would give them $1,000 each,” he told The Compass during an interview Nov 18 with his wife Jessie by his side. “I didn’t think I would actually win.” But he did. Harry won the draw, pocketing a cool $13,075. When Harry brought the cheque back to Daffodil Place cancer patients lodge, which is where he and Jessie stay during his weeklong treatment sessions, he showed her the cheque, and she was shocked.
“I went to bed, and Jessie stayed up just staring at the cheque,” Harry laughed. “The first thing she said was, ‘We should take some friends out.’” Jessie nodded. “There were 16 of us, including Harry and myself,” she explained. “We all went to Swiss Chalet.” The friends the couple spoke about were their fellow residents at Daffodil place, who were all very thankful to receive the invite.
A difficult situation many experience from staying at the house is having to temporarily move away from home and loved ones.
The Anthony’s said they are lucky enough to live near their two children and one grandchild and a two-hour drive from home, but others live much farther.
“A woman from St. Anthony hasn’t been home in two months,” Jessie said. “We asked her if she would like to come to dinner with us, and she (enthusiastically) said yes.”
Besides offering dinner to friends, the couple purchased five $25 gift cards to give to the staff at Daffodil Place and another friend who was feeling ill and could not attend.
Not the first battle
Harry is currently getting treatment for his cancer, but it is not the first time the family has gone through a battle. Jessie is also a cancer survivor.
In early 2008, Jessie was diagnosed with polyps on her uterus. It was determined they were malignant.
“I wasn’t given any options,” she explained. “They said a complete hysterectomy was necessary.”
Although noticeably choked up, Jessie continued to describe an unfortunate series of events that continued, starting with complications and issues that took place during the surgery.
In December of the same year, another tragedy struck in Jessie’s life. She needed open heart surgery.
Lifting up her pant leg and rolling up her sleeve, Jessie revealed significant scars.
Arteries and veins from both extremities were removed and grafted to perform quadruple bypass surgery.
Then, in 2011, Jessie had an arterial blockage in her neck, which she received another major surgery to repair.
Harry changed the subject when Jessie’s eyes began to tear up.
Others need it more
Harry said they have already began spending the $13,000, including giving $1,000 to each of their three children and $100 to each of their four grandchildren, the gift card purchases and the dinner at Swiss Chalet.
In their 44 years married, they have given away a lot, including turkeys.
“There have been times I’ve taken food out of the cupboard or freezer and given it to those who needed it,” Jessie explained.
In fact, on their way home from Daffodil Place last week for their weekend in Grates Cove, they picked up a large bag of dog food. The couple doesn’t own any pets.
“We dropped it off to our neighbour on our way,” Jessie said.
Stocked in the back of the family’s truck were 13 two litre bottles of Diet Pepsi, and in a plastic tub were cans of the same, almost a complete 24pack.
Harry has been known to offer them up and give them away whenever someone is in need.
“No one has ever given us anything,” Harry explained. “But we don’t mind sharing. We have always given to those who needed it, even if we couldn’t afford it.”
The couple described their stay at Daffodil Place as, “a home away from home.” It contains 24 rooms for people with cancer and their caregivers.
“They are excellent people who work there,” Jessie said. “We are so thankful to them, and to the staff at the (Dr. H. Bliss Murphy) Cancer Clinic.”
Harry expects to complete his treatment by the beginning of December, at which time he and Jessie will consider what to do with the remainder of the $13,000.
The IceCaps Care/Williams Family Foundation and Reebok have donated 50 tickets to the cancer care foundation and 50 more to the Janeway Children’s Hospital.
The foundation has also given to other cancer- related charities, including the Atlantic chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Candlelighters, Movember for prostate cancer, Young Adult Cancer Canada and Ride for Dad, also for prostate cancer.
Harry (left) and Jessie Anthony have both experienced some negative health issues, but have recently won $13,000 from the 50/50 draw at a St. John’s IceCaps game. Harry is currently undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, while Jessie is a uterine cancer survivor.