Doctor to meet with board

Terry Roberts
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Specialist critical of Canadian Cancer Society 'absolutely floored' by operating costs at hostel

Revelations that the Canadian Cancer Society will need to raise an additional $400,000 annually in order to operate Daffodil Place - a new 24-room hostel for those travelling to St. John's for cancer treatment - are being greeted with disbelief by Dr. Pradip Ganguly, a noted cancer specialist.

"That is a massive amount of money," Ganguly said Monday.

Ganguly said it's proof that all is not well with the society's Newfoundland division.

He described the figure as a huge subsidy - more than $16,000 per room - for an organization that depends on the goodwill and generosity of the half a million residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dr. Pradip Ganguly

Health -

Revelations that the Canadian Cancer Society will need to raise an additional $400,000 annually in order to operate Daffodil Place - a new 24-room hostel for those travelling to St. John's for cancer treatment - are being greeted with disbelief by Dr. Pradip Ganguly, a noted cancer specialist.

"That is a massive amount of money," Ganguly said Monday.

Ganguly said it's proof that all is not well with the society's Newfoundland division.

He described the figure as a huge subsidy - more than $16,000 per room - for an organization that depends on the goodwill and generosity of the half a million residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"I was absolutely floored," he said of the amount.

Dr. Maria Mathews, the volunteer president of the board of directors, released the figure last week. She acknowledged the society is financially strained, and is embarking on a "new era" with a renewed focus.

But she expressed confidence the society was on solid ground, and was meeting its commitments, both locally and at the national level.

Ganguly, a former board president with the cancer society, lobbed some fiery criticism at the not-for-profit organization in an article that appeared in The Weekend Telegram, setting off an emotional public debate among those who support the more than $7-million Daffodil Place and those who say it is too extravagant.

Ganguly and board officials confirmed Monday they will meet in the coming days to discuss the concerns raised by Ganguly.

An official with the society said Mathews would not be commenting.

Ganguly, chief of radiation oncology with Eastern Health, said the society strayed from its core values by undertaking a massive project like Daffodil Place.

He also described a provincial lottery staged last year by the society as a "financial disaster" that unnecessarily put donor money at risk.

Mathews said the lottery had a more than $300,000 shortfall, with the loss being shared by the society and its partner, the VOCM Cares Foundation. There was no insurance on the lottery.

Ganguly said it's obvious the $25 daily fee charged to users of Daffodil Place is insufficient.

"Somebody didn't crunch their numbers for what ideally the numbers should be," he said.

Mathews said last week the operation is under review, including the daily rate.

"We want to make sure Daffodil Place is still affordable. But we also want to make sure that it's fair and we're covering the cost of running the operation," Mathews said.

Despite his concerns, Ganguly is confident the society can be righted.

"I think if they don't play with words and they come clean and show exactly what changes they've made, I think so. There are a lot of good people who had no voice before. So I think, yes, there are a lot of good volunteers there. No doubt they can come out of this with a smile and they don't have to feel bad."

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Canadian Cancer Society, VOCM Cares Foundation

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Lorraine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    I am dissappointed as someone who has been involved in the relays, and local fundraising for Daffadil Place. I always wondered how they could run a place on a $20 day fee. If it costs $400,000 to maintain this on a yearly basis then it should stand on its own- seperate from the books of the cancer society as a whole- and fundraising should take place seperately. Then I would feel comfortable raising money in the relay for cancer research. Thank-you doctor for speaking out- many people fundraise and do not realize what the money is used for.

  • Mac
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Every major city has a Lodge that Gives or a Daffodil Place. It IS the mandate of the cancer society to provide a place for those undergoing treatment to stay where they can be properly cared for and truly heal - NOT the job of the government. The government should be paying for new hospital equipment rather than non-profits fundraising for that. Of course there is an annual cost to running Daffodil Place. Every other province fundraises for it and donors are thrilled to know their dollars directly support patient care. Criticize money mangement, but educate yourselved on what the cancer society really does and why before you need it. My mother traveled hundreds of kms for cancer treatment and thank God above that the Lodge was there for her in her province. I will generously give to support Daffodil Place through Relay and when I buy daffodils.

  • But thats my opinion
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Hmmmm From what I could remember a few years ago when this Capital Campaign had a controversy with the people of this province about a donation to the Campaign that was put towards the Canadian Cancer Society's Financial Statements, it was then decided that Daffodil Place have its own financial statments. So why don't they have seperate fundraising for the operation of Daffodil Place from the donations made to the Canadian Cancer Society? If you really think about it, the costs of having a fundraising event (like Realy for life), the costs of utility bills for the building and most of all the salaries and expenses of the individuals that work for the Society, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS LEFT OVER??? Maybe 15% of what an individual donates actually goes towards trying to find a cure.

    Don't get me wrong, I think having Daffodil Place in this provice is a huge advantage for the people living outside the city who can't afford the price of a hotel room and I have no problem with the people who work there, but do they really need that much office space. But you got to wonder how much they each make a year??? I am sure Peter Dawe made a fair dollar. How often would someone say they bumped into him at the airport or saw him sitting in first class! I am sure he didn't pay for all his business trips on his own! But that is another topic....

    But to take the money to fund this place out of the Canadian Cancer Society donations? NO! Fundraise for that another way. My thought on this is if you are thinking about helping those in need, save your donated dollars and use it to put gas in your car to go and VOLUNTEER!! At least you know exactly what your dollars for the time spent volunteering is going towards! Cancer is VERY much in my family. I have seen my grandparents die, aunts and uncles die, cousins die and I can speak for them when I say, they noticed every person who donated their time to help cancer patients 100% more than they noticed anyone donating money for a cure that no one can seem to find!

    It is time for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to realize that yes, Daffodil Place is an AMAZING place! BUT find funding another way or have a look at the people who work there and wonder how much they are getting paid to do their job, or when a fundraising event comes around, have a look around and say, was there really a need for them to pay for this or that?? This not for profit organization that these people are calling themselves should be further looked upon and I am sure there could be other ways to save money. Cut out big fancy costs at these fundraising events. Cut out the costs of hiring 5 people to do a job that 2 people could do. Get out there and find more volunteers. Cut back on the salaries of those working at the society or at least have a look to see if every job is needed or if one person can do the job of 2 people that works there. When they had their offices at the building on Crosbie Road, they paid rent and someone else worried about everything else! NOW, they have a mortgage, more people gotta be paid to upkeep this building and run it, more utility bills have to be paid including the costs of I would say over 35 TV's! And they are looking for the people of Newfoundland to pay for this?

    Thanks Canadian Cancer Society, but I think I would rather continue volunteering my time with the actual patients than passing you my $20 per month to help pay for your utilities and give $4 to find a cure... Sounds like a financial situation gone bad to me... But thats my opinion!

  • Mario
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I would imagine that anything this guy has to say holds great merit, they don't just let anyone become a cancer specialist. Unless he is saying this with other motives in mind (ie. trying to boost fund raising efforts), my guess is that what he's saying is absolutly true

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    It certainly appears that no projections as to the viability of the project were prepared prior to construction. Now we find Daffodil Place will need 400,000 a year to operate. Won't be happening, because the public donates money for cancer research - not to subsidize a hostel. Daffodil Place was a great idea - but Newfoundland can't afford it. The only way this will work is to begin charging families to stay there. People will hesitate to give now thinking they're subsidizing a white elephant.
    The Cancer Society builds this hostel and nobody thought about where the money was going to come from to operate it - this project is two clowns short of a circus.

  • Concerned
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    First of, I wonder if Dr. Ganuly has an hidden agenda here? Is it the fact that he is no longer on the board, or is it that he can't bear the Cancer persons from getting a little help while they are in St. John's having to go through cancer treatment. We have to realize the costs involved when people have to go to St. John's for treatment, especially those that can't afford it.
    This is where the government comes in to have the treatments done closer to people's home, somewhere like Gander where it's central to the island.
    Just imagine the people from St. John's
    having to go to Gander for treatment and having to bear the costs themselves, would the populus feel the same then?
    I think the Daffodil Place is a God Sent, and some people detest it. So what if the Government has to bail them out, it serves more of a purpose then giving the money to recreation. Thanks.

  • Breast Cancer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I posted quite a lengthy comment in Western Star on-line POST A COMMENT regarding this subject.

    I'm behind Dr. Ganguly all the way. This highly respected doctor knows full well what he is talking about.

    I am pleased this meeting is taking place in the hopes that this service is not lost to the out of town cancer patients. There needs to be a hugh scale-back done on this posh place and a change in attitude .... it's for the CANCER PATIENTS folks, not the staff.

  • Doug
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Dr Ganguly is a man of integrity and when he sees something that is not right with the operations of the Cancer Clinic or cancer foundations he will express his opinions so that the truth becomes known. In some places, he would be called a whistle blower and I say, God love people like Dr. Ganguly!

  • Interested
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Thank you Dr. Ganguly for bringing this matter to the publics attention.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Open up a Dann-odil Place in Sarasota, FL...where anyone can go in February for the best health treatment hypocrisy can buy.

  • M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Joe- The Cancer Society's mandate is not the treatment of those with cancer. It is the SUPPORT for people living with cancer. They provide wigs free of charge, they provide emotional support groups, they provide rides to treatment, they provide seminars on prevention, they provide research and crucial information to the public. People have to realize that the Staff and the Volunteers are working tirelessly and with little compensation to achieve this mandate and for someone to come along and discredit the organization based on decisions that were all approved by a Board - is just sad. Eastern Health is charged with the treatment of our sick... and I think we all know how that turned out.

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Crack open the books and have the place audited. As per Robert - affordable accommodations are available. There has been rumors going around that many St. John's hotels have already got a policy that offers rooms to those in for medical conditions at a rate to what Daffodil Place offers. Nice idea but flawed when 49% of the 7,000,000 raised went for construction of office space. So now they need 400k a year to upkeep? Does that mean 200k to upkeep office space?

  • Iron
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Scrap Daffodil Place and buy Condo's in FLorida, then when we go down we have a place to stay away from home to get surgeries.

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Nobody with a heart would argue that affordable accomodations for cancer victims and their families is needed. That said, the responsibility for providing those accomodations is not with the Canadian Cancer society. Private insurance and government support would have been a much more appropriate and cost-effective solution. I think that the province should buy this asset from the cancer society and remove the ongoing burden of operational costs from the charity.

  • joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    The province is truly blessed to have a doctor llike Dr.Ganguly who had the guts to tell people of this province the real financial mess of the cancer society and how it has moved so far so fast from its stated mission statement.

    It is obvious to me that mismanagement of the association's finances and the hype of the daffodil Place construction was the cause of the present mess.

    People will be expecting government to now pick up losses and keep the cancer program on track which is not good for taxpayers.

    I heard of the huge legal payouts for lawyers involved in the Breast cancer boondoogle and I simply wish to say that there is something horribly wrong with people who put their own apparent greed and their own mismanagement style before the needs of sick cancer patients.

    God help us.

    I wonder how much more waste is going on in the health care system right under our noses?

    The cancer society appears to be a real time snapshot of the types we do not need looking after tretment for our sick.

  • Lorraine
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    I am dissappointed as someone who has been involved in the relays, and local fundraising for Daffadil Place. I always wondered how they could run a place on a $20 day fee. If it costs $400,000 to maintain this on a yearly basis then it should stand on its own- seperate from the books of the cancer society as a whole- and fundraising should take place seperately. Then I would feel comfortable raising money in the relay for cancer research. Thank-you doctor for speaking out- many people fundraise and do not realize what the money is used for.

  • Mac
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Every major city has a Lodge that Gives or a Daffodil Place. It IS the mandate of the cancer society to provide a place for those undergoing treatment to stay where they can be properly cared for and truly heal - NOT the job of the government. The government should be paying for new hospital equipment rather than non-profits fundraising for that. Of course there is an annual cost to running Daffodil Place. Every other province fundraises for it and donors are thrilled to know their dollars directly support patient care. Criticize money mangement, but educate yourselved on what the cancer society really does and why before you need it. My mother traveled hundreds of kms for cancer treatment and thank God above that the Lodge was there for her in her province. I will generously give to support Daffodil Place through Relay and when I buy daffodils.

  • But thats my opinion
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Hmmmm From what I could remember a few years ago when this Capital Campaign had a controversy with the people of this province about a donation to the Campaign that was put towards the Canadian Cancer Society's Financial Statements, it was then decided that Daffodil Place have its own financial statments. So why don't they have seperate fundraising for the operation of Daffodil Place from the donations made to the Canadian Cancer Society? If you really think about it, the costs of having a fundraising event (like Realy for life), the costs of utility bills for the building and most of all the salaries and expenses of the individuals that work for the Society, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS LEFT OVER??? Maybe 15% of what an individual donates actually goes towards trying to find a cure.

    Don't get me wrong, I think having Daffodil Place in this provice is a huge advantage for the people living outside the city who can't afford the price of a hotel room and I have no problem with the people who work there, but do they really need that much office space. But you got to wonder how much they each make a year??? I am sure Peter Dawe made a fair dollar. How often would someone say they bumped into him at the airport or saw him sitting in first class! I am sure he didn't pay for all his business trips on his own! But that is another topic....

    But to take the money to fund this place out of the Canadian Cancer Society donations? NO! Fundraise for that another way. My thought on this is if you are thinking about helping those in need, save your donated dollars and use it to put gas in your car to go and VOLUNTEER!! At least you know exactly what your dollars for the time spent volunteering is going towards! Cancer is VERY much in my family. I have seen my grandparents die, aunts and uncles die, cousins die and I can speak for them when I say, they noticed every person who donated their time to help cancer patients 100% more than they noticed anyone donating money for a cure that no one can seem to find!

    It is time for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to realize that yes, Daffodil Place is an AMAZING place! BUT find funding another way or have a look at the people who work there and wonder how much they are getting paid to do their job, or when a fundraising event comes around, have a look around and say, was there really a need for them to pay for this or that?? This not for profit organization that these people are calling themselves should be further looked upon and I am sure there could be other ways to save money. Cut out big fancy costs at these fundraising events. Cut out the costs of hiring 5 people to do a job that 2 people could do. Get out there and find more volunteers. Cut back on the salaries of those working at the society or at least have a look to see if every job is needed or if one person can do the job of 2 people that works there. When they had their offices at the building on Crosbie Road, they paid rent and someone else worried about everything else! NOW, they have a mortgage, more people gotta be paid to upkeep this building and run it, more utility bills have to be paid including the costs of I would say over 35 TV's! And they are looking for the people of Newfoundland to pay for this?

    Thanks Canadian Cancer Society, but I think I would rather continue volunteering my time with the actual patients than passing you my $20 per month to help pay for your utilities and give $4 to find a cure... Sounds like a financial situation gone bad to me... But thats my opinion!

  • Mario
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I would imagine that anything this guy has to say holds great merit, they don't just let anyone become a cancer specialist. Unless he is saying this with other motives in mind (ie. trying to boost fund raising efforts), my guess is that what he's saying is absolutly true

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    It certainly appears that no projections as to the viability of the project were prepared prior to construction. Now we find Daffodil Place will need 400,000 a year to operate. Won't be happening, because the public donates money for cancer research - not to subsidize a hostel. Daffodil Place was a great idea - but Newfoundland can't afford it. The only way this will work is to begin charging families to stay there. People will hesitate to give now thinking they're subsidizing a white elephant.
    The Cancer Society builds this hostel and nobody thought about where the money was going to come from to operate it - this project is two clowns short of a circus.

  • Concerned
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    First of, I wonder if Dr. Ganuly has an hidden agenda here? Is it the fact that he is no longer on the board, or is it that he can't bear the Cancer persons from getting a little help while they are in St. John's having to go through cancer treatment. We have to realize the costs involved when people have to go to St. John's for treatment, especially those that can't afford it.
    This is where the government comes in to have the treatments done closer to people's home, somewhere like Gander where it's central to the island.
    Just imagine the people from St. John's
    having to go to Gander for treatment and having to bear the costs themselves, would the populus feel the same then?
    I think the Daffodil Place is a God Sent, and some people detest it. So what if the Government has to bail them out, it serves more of a purpose then giving the money to recreation. Thanks.

  • Breast Cancer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    I posted quite a lengthy comment in Western Star on-line POST A COMMENT regarding this subject.

    I'm behind Dr. Ganguly all the way. This highly respected doctor knows full well what he is talking about.

    I am pleased this meeting is taking place in the hopes that this service is not lost to the out of town cancer patients. There needs to be a hugh scale-back done on this posh place and a change in attitude .... it's for the CANCER PATIENTS folks, not the staff.

  • Doug
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Dr Ganguly is a man of integrity and when he sees something that is not right with the operations of the Cancer Clinic or cancer foundations he will express his opinions so that the truth becomes known. In some places, he would be called a whistle blower and I say, God love people like Dr. Ganguly!

  • Interested
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Thank you Dr. Ganguly for bringing this matter to the publics attention.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Open up a Dann-odil Place in Sarasota, FL...where anyone can go in February for the best health treatment hypocrisy can buy.

  • M
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Joe- The Cancer Society's mandate is not the treatment of those with cancer. It is the SUPPORT for people living with cancer. They provide wigs free of charge, they provide emotional support groups, they provide rides to treatment, they provide seminars on prevention, they provide research and crucial information to the public. People have to realize that the Staff and the Volunteers are working tirelessly and with little compensation to achieve this mandate and for someone to come along and discredit the organization based on decisions that were all approved by a Board - is just sad. Eastern Health is charged with the treatment of our sick... and I think we all know how that turned out.

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Crack open the books and have the place audited. As per Robert - affordable accommodations are available. There has been rumors going around that many St. John's hotels have already got a policy that offers rooms to those in for medical conditions at a rate to what Daffodil Place offers. Nice idea but flawed when 49% of the 7,000,000 raised went for construction of office space. So now they need 400k a year to upkeep? Does that mean 200k to upkeep office space?

  • Iron
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Scrap Daffodil Place and buy Condo's in FLorida, then when we go down we have a place to stay away from home to get surgeries.

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Nobody with a heart would argue that affordable accomodations for cancer victims and their families is needed. That said, the responsibility for providing those accomodations is not with the Canadian Cancer society. Private insurance and government support would have been a much more appropriate and cost-effective solution. I think that the province should buy this asset from the cancer society and remove the ongoing burden of operational costs from the charity.

  • joe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    The province is truly blessed to have a doctor llike Dr.Ganguly who had the guts to tell people of this province the real financial mess of the cancer society and how it has moved so far so fast from its stated mission statement.

    It is obvious to me that mismanagement of the association's finances and the hype of the daffodil Place construction was the cause of the present mess.

    People will be expecting government to now pick up losses and keep the cancer program on track which is not good for taxpayers.

    I heard of the huge legal payouts for lawyers involved in the Breast cancer boondoogle and I simply wish to say that there is something horribly wrong with people who put their own apparent greed and their own mismanagement style before the needs of sick cancer patients.

    God help us.

    I wonder how much more waste is going on in the health care system right under our noses?

    The cancer society appears to be a real time snapshot of the types we do not need looking after tretment for our sick.