‘It can’t always be somebody else’

Danette Dooley
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MHA and former RNC constable takes cancer diagnosis in stride

MHA Paul Davis in his garden in Conception Bay South. — Photo by Danette Dooley/ Special to The Telegram

MHA Paul Davis is battling cancer.

The member for the district of Topsail has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

During an interview at his home in Conception Bay South on Wednesday, Davis said he’s speaking out to clear up “misinformation” that’s already circulating about his illness.

“People have heard different versions of what the actual facts are and I want to make sure that it’s the facts that are known,” he said.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that help fight infection.

Davis’s symptoms began in April when he went to St. Clare’s emergency department with increasing pain and discomfort.

A surgeon removed his enlarged appendix. Biopsies of the organ led to the cancer diagnosis.

His treatments include several cycles of chemotherapy, which he started earlier this week.

The treatments will likely run until Christmas. Until then, he says, he’s unable to make public appearances because of a weakened immune system.

“There will be times when I’ll be very susceptible to colds and those types of things. I have to be careful all the time, but, during those times, I have to be really careful and have as little contact as possible with people.”

During the interview, Davis talked about how he was missing Tim Hortons Camp Day. On June 1, coffee proceeds were donated to the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation. As in previous years, he had volunteered to serve customers at a local Tim’s.

While he wasn’t pouring java and won’t be out and about for about six months, Davis will continue to work from home.

“I’ll have good days and not so good days. But with a laptop, and a BlackBerry and a cellphone, and a full-time constituency assistant at the office, I’ll continue to carry out my functions and responsibilities as an MHA.”

Davis is confident in his treatment plan. The surgeon made the right decision to remove his appendix, he said.

He has faith in his hematologist and other health professionals responsible for his care.

“It was very obvious to me from the very start that everybody knew what they were doing. And that was important to me. … And I learned that the time frame to see a hematologist (about two weeks) was relatively short compared to some other provinces,” he said.

A retired police officer and former Police Officer of the Year, Davis is best known for his former role as RNC media relations officer.

He also served for nine years as a councillor in Conception Bay South, serving on two occasions as the town’s deputy mayor.

He retired from the constabulary in 2010 and was elected MHA for the district of Topsail in March 2010.

A provincial election is just months away.

Davis has already won the PC nomination for his district. He’s still very much in the race, he says.

While he won’t be knocking on doors or attending rallies as he did last year, he has a team in place to help him with his re-election campaign.

Several MHAs have already offered to campaign on his behalf, he says.

Davis and his wife Cheryl founded the Avalon Chapter of the Motorcycle Ride for Dad in 2006 — an event to help fight prostate cancer.

Since his diagnosis, he says, several cancer survivors have offered moral support, as have his government colleagues and members of the policing community.

NHL greats Mario Lemieux and Saku Koivu have both beaten non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Davis says he’ll beat it, too.

“The treatments can be rough, but Cheryl and I are ready for it. We’re taking a ‘bring it on’ approach to this. And, as my father-in-law put it, ‘it can’t always be somebody else.’”



Organizations: NHL

Geographic location: Topsail, Conception Bay South, Tim Hortons Children

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Recent comments

  • Paul Hussey
    June 04, 2011 - 19:49

    All our prayers are with you, Paul. "Ride like you just stole it...." Paul (and Mom)

  • caleb
    June 04, 2011 - 18:47

    Hi Paul I wish you all the very best in your fight against this very aweful disease no one truly can understand the emontional and physical strain this has on a person . I myself was diagnoised with a very aggressive prostate cancer and the news was very bad, then to add to that i was told that I would have to wait 3 to 6 months for surgery???? Being a Registered Nurse I was able to get my surgery arrainged quickley in Halifax with no help in anyway from the provincial goverment of NL. Thank God I'm still alive and on this side of the sod LOL. I wonder how long did you have to wait for your surgery??????? Take care and keep up the fight against this dreadful illness.

  • Mike & Elaine Zaichkowsky
    June 04, 2011 - 13:13

    Paul, it's been years since we've seen you when you worked in Corner Brook and were involved with Big Brothers & Big Sisters. As always, you put your best foot forward. Keep looking ahead and you will bounce back from your illness in no time. You are a strong person and you will defeat this battle just as you will win in the next election with flying colors. May your journey through this treatment give you more power and strength. Take Care! Mike, Elaine & Andrew

  • Jen
    June 04, 2011 - 11:27

    Good luck, We will be thinking of you & wish nothing but the best for you!!!

  • David
    June 04, 2011 - 11:09

    Paul, you can do it. I was diagnosed in 2004 with Chronic Lypocytic Leukemia ( CLL), and have gone through chemo etc. The nurses and doctors at the APT are fantastic. Keeping a positive attitude is very important. At times this will be difficult, but don't be afraid to let your feeling out. There is always someone to talk to. Like you, during treatment you have to be careful where you go, what you do because of the weakened immune system. Your true friends will understand that it is better not to visit than to bring you a cold. Unfortunately, my immune system has never rebounded so I go to the APT every three weeks to get Immune Globulin to keep it active---not a chore when you consider what it does. I may see you there. Cheers.

  • robert tucker
    June 04, 2011 - 09:07

    Mr. Davis, think postivitly!!! My father, Gordon, Tucker had the same and he survived for 14 yrs, from ages 57 to almost age 71! Good luck!!!

  • Harvey Jackman
    June 04, 2011 - 08:23

    You can do it, Paul !!! And you'll win the election too!!!

  • RB
    June 04, 2011 - 08:00

    Good luck!! You have a great outlook. Hope to see you back in the best of health very soon.

    • K
      June 04, 2011 - 09:34

      Thank you for inputting the information on Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma....I too, have been diagnosed with the disease and have started my first treatment...Like you have stated, there are good days and bad days, but with the wonderful Drs and health professionals dealing with people like us, the road to recovery won't be too stressful. Good luck as you carry out your day to day work!

  • Justin
    June 04, 2011 - 07:42

    Mr. Davis, I wish you nothing but the best in your fight, and keep up the good spirits and great attitude. I'm sure you will be missed in the community over the next several months as you are a prominent volunteer, but time flies, and before you know it, you'll be back doing what you love to do and helping others. Again, good luck and god bless.

  • Don Lester
    June 04, 2011 - 07:07

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery Paul.