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VIDEO: Young cancer patient grateful St. John's care team with her every step of the way

Karl Smith (left), chair of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation's In This Together campaign, chats with Meghan Waterman, a 21-year-old from Torbay receiving treatment for ovarian cancer.
Karl Smith (left), chair of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation's In This Together campaign, chats with Meghan Waterman, a 21-year-old from Torbay receiving treatment for ovarian cancer. - Andrew Robinson

Fortis announces $500,000 donation for patient room renovations, new chemotherapy unit

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Just before her 20th birthday, Meghan Waterman received a call informing her about an appointment that same day at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre in St. John's. The Memorial University psychology student underwent an emergency surgery to remove a lump not too long before she got the call.

"I kept pushing it off thinking that maybe it was a precautionary appointment," the Torbay native said Friday. "But I couldn't stop thinking, why would they call if I didn't have cancer?"

Her worries were later confirmed — Waterman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A year-and-a-half later, she's still receiving immunotherapy treatment.  Now 21, she's been through quite a lot and has had plenty of hard days. But through it all, Waterman is grateful for the care and support she has received from health professionals who helped her along the way.

"As I continued on as a patient, I started talking more and more with the staff, and that fear and anxiety started to fade away," she said. "You can tell that they truly care about their patients, and this support is essential. Everyone you encounter treats you with such warm and positive attitudes that brings such a great comfort to the experience. This comfort pushed me to continue my life as normally as I could, which is something every single cancer patient strives to achieve."

Waterman was present Friday for Fortis Inc.’s announcement of a $500,000 donation to benefit sites she has lots of familiarity with. Funds going to the Health Care Foundation will assist renovations to the acute cancer care rooms on the fourth floor of the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's. The remainder of the donation will benefit the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation campaign to establish a new chemotherapy unit at its cancer care centre.

Representatives of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation, the Health Care Foundation and Fortis Inc. pose following the announcement of a $500,000 donation from Fortis to the two charitable foundations.
Representatives of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation, the Health Care Foundation and Fortis Inc. pose following the announcement of a $500,000 donation from Fortis to the two charitable foundations.

Following her diagnosis, Watermen did four months of chemotherapy.

"Although I didn't feel overly scared at first, as a young adult I felt cheated," she said. "I'd finally found my path and I started the program that I worked so hard to get accepted into, and now I didn't even know if I had a future to get excited about."

The chemo was difficult for Waterman, who had no expectations for how her body would react. It was particularly gruelling for her mental health, and after the first round of chemo she learned her form of ovarian cancer was much worse than initially thought.

"I left that appointment that day and got dropped off to my boyfriend's house. I went in there thinking that we were going to break up, because how is it fair to make him continue to love somebody that only has a 30 per cent chance of survival? How do you tell your loved ones that? It broke my heart even more to tell my friends and my family the news than it did hearing it for myself, because at the end of the day, it's going to be them who are going to have to cope with me not being there anymore."

With support from the cancer care team, Waterman continued her studies at MUN during treatments and in between clinic appointments. Waterman is due to graduate next year from the honours program in psychology, where she is studying the psychosocial effects of cancer.

"I still have fears for my future, and there isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about everything that happened and everything that could happen, but I don't let that stop me from living the life that I want. There's no doubt in my mind that my life could be very, very different right now if it wasn't for my cancer care team, who fought so hard for me through every single step of the way."

andrew.robinson@thetelegram.com
@CBNAndrew

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