Stroke of good luck

Grates Cove man un­der­go­ing can­cer treat­ment wins siz­able cash prize at hockey game

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

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.”

Thank­ful

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.

Pho­toby Melissa Jenk­ins/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

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.

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