Cancer-stricken boy's mom appeals for internet at Janeway

A mother whose son is going through an intense round of chemotherapy is speaking out about a lack of internet access at the Janeway children's hospital in St. John's.
Debbie Clark says her son Nicholas who has leukemia needs online access in his room 5:06

A mother whose son is going through an intense round of chemotherapy is speaking out about a lack of internet access at the Janeway children's hospital in St. John's.

Debbie Clark, whose family lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, said there isn't enough access for people in the hospital who are forced to be more isolated due to their conditions.

Her son Nicolas, 12, has been at the Janeway since earlier this year when he was diagnosed with a relapse of leukemia.

She said due to the nature of his illness, he can't utilize the computers in the hospital's playroom because he needs to avoid germs.

"Life is hard. It's kind of secluded and he's done some pretty intense treatment this time around, and he's been doing that since the end of June so he's pretty confined to what he can do and where he can go," Clark said.

Nicolas Clark, 12, reading a book in his hospital bed at the Janeway Hospital in St. John's (Courtesy Debbie Clark)

"We can't go to the movies, we can't go to the Geo Centre, and even when his counts are good he's so nauseous and stuff that he just doesn't have the strength or the energy to go anywhere."

Without internet access in his hospital room, there are no Skype chats with family and friends back home or research for school work.

Clark said having access in his room would make a big difference for his quality of life while at the hospital.

"It would be huge. He can still be a part of his life, he can sit and do homework with his siblings, he could watch them get ready for hockey, he could take part in school discussions," she said.

"He'd still be part of the community."

Since talking with CBC on the St. John's Morning Show on Thursday, Clark said there has been an outpouring of support.

Someone dropped off a 3G Apple iPad for her son, and the Janeway Foundation said it will be hooking up a modem for his room.

"It's really good that he can do that stuff, but it's almost [like] you're guilt ridden because the kids next door don't have it and there's no reason not to," Clark said.

In a statement on Thursday, Eastern Health said the Janeway Foundation has agreed to find the money to provide wireless access, which it said will cost $300,000 to install throughout the hospital.


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