Widow of mis­di­ag­nosed can­cer vic­tim fo­cuses on pos­i­tives

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - Local - By Dave Deib­ert

Crys­tal Bon­derud has cried plenty of tears. But to­day she plans to cel­e­brate the life, not mourn the death, of her hus­band, Doug Bon­derud.

Doug died Tues­day morn­ing af­ter a two-year fight with can­cer. His funeral is at 10:30 a.m. at Hill­crest Funeral Home. “Doug wanted a big party,” said Crys­tal.

That’s why she burned a CD of Doug’s favourite mu­sic to be played. In­stead of a tra­di­tional urn, Doug’s fish­ing tackle box is hold­ing his ashes. The church will be adorned with pic­tures, hunt­ing equip­ment and teddy bears. Even the cou­ple’s dog, Baby, will be there.

“It won’t be a sad day,” Crys­tal said. “It’s go­ing to be as fun and up­lift­ing as pos­si­ble.”

Doug had been mis­di­ag­nosed for nine months be­fore be­ing di­ag­nosed last sum­mer with two gas­troin­testi­nal stro­mal tu­mours. Told re­peat­edly by doc­tors that the tu­mour was in­op­er­a­ble, he was treated un­suc­cess­fully with drugs. Fi­nally, the cou­ple trav­elled last May to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and was told surgery was the only op­tion. Mayo Clinic doc­tors re­moved a plate-sized tu­mour but the can­cer had spread too much.

The Bon­deruds’ frus­tra­tion grew when they were told by Saskatchewan Health Min­is­ter Len Tay­lor that the gov­ern­ment would not cover $85,000 in bills they in­curred dur­ing that trip, since the surgery was avail­able in Canada. Crys­tal said she was told there were no guar­an­tees on how long that wait would be.

Crys­tal plans on le­gal ac­tion in the fu­ture but for to­day she is fo­cus­ing on the good times.

She’ll think about their first date on Oct. 29, 2004, when they went to Earl’s Restau­rant and the Spad­ina Free­house. Five months later, they were en­gaged.

She’ll re­mem­ber big trips to Mex­ico and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic, but also day-to-day things like go­ing to movies, the gym or shar­ing a laugh to­gether.

She’ll re­call how Doug pro­posed at the same spot his grand­fa­ther popped the ques­tion to his grand­mother — a grid road near Naicam. His grand­par­ents are about to cel­e­brate their 69th an­niver­sary, and Doug hoped that ask­ing Crys­tal at that lo­ca­tion would bring him and his fu­ture bride good luck.

She’ll think about their wed­ding on Aug. 26 at Boffins Club. The big day wasn’t sup­posed to be un­til Fe­bru­ary, but that date was pushed up due to Doug’s ill­ness. Though he had been in the hospi­tal a few days prior, and again a few days af­ter, both he and Crys­tal called their wed­ding the hap­pi­est day of their lives. “It was per­fect,” said Crys­tal. She cher­ishes the last gift Doug gave her. They planned to buy each other match­ing watches for the wed­ding, but costs for Doug’s care left them strapped fi­nan­cially. Last week, Doug se­cretly ar­ranged for friends to spe­cial-or­der the watch for Crys­tal. It nor­mally would have taken two weeks to ar­rive but, due to the cir­cum­stances, it was on Crys­tal’s wrist in two days.

The in­scrip­tion on the gold-and-sil­ver piece: “Crys­tal, I love you with all my heart al­ways. Doug.”

ddeib­[email protected]

Bon­derud

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