From a hospital bed 3,700 kilometres from home, a Nova Scotia man with terminal lung cancer recently recorded his dying wish.
"My name is Cameron Conrad and I'm trying to get home to Nova Scotia. Trying to raise enough money so I can die at home," the message said.
Conrad was diagnosed in November 2015. His doctors told him he might have until May. He's been living Alberta, is hospitalized in Calgary, and his family must raise $47,000 for a medical flight to grant Conrad's wish to come home.
By Monday afternoon, the family appeared to be reaching its fundraising goal. It can't come soon enough, as the May prognosis looks like a "very, very generous," his sister Juanita Martin told CBC's Maritime Noon.
"Maybe a couple of months. Maybe. He wants the family with him. His spirits are just so great and he just wants to come home."
'He had a lot of pain'
Conrad is from a family of six kids. Martin, who now lives in Lower Sackville, says her brother broke the news over the phone shortly after his diagnosis.
He'd been working as a tractor-trailer driver in Grande Prairie, but "he had a lot of pain," Martin says. After several trips to the hospital, doctors told him his cancer had spread from his lungs to his bones.
The family originally planned to bring him home on a commercial flight, but his condition has deteriorated and he can't sit up for long periods, Martin says.
The only option is a $47,000 medevac with a nurse by his side. The family set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money. By Monday afternoon, more than $48,000 had been raised, however there are fees to deduct.
The cost could go down if the family can find a patient to hitch a ride back to Alberta, but that option has yet to pan out.
"Our family — they're not poor. But that's a lot of money to put out," Martin said.
Goal within reach
The family has watched the fundraising counter rise faster than expected, in part thanks to a large number of total strangers.
"The outpouring has been amazing," she said.
During a recent trip the family made to visit him in Calgary, Martin says Conrad was shocked by the generosity.
"We asked him what he thought, and he just looked at us and kept shaking his head," Martin laughed.
They haven't booked the flight yet, but Martin says the family hopes to have Conrad home this weekend or by early next week.