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June Callwood: Living with cancer

The Story

There are a lot of pluses about having cancer, June Callwood tells CBC's Shelagh Rogers. "I lost a lot of weight... I haven't been a size eight since I was 25 years old." Callwood, who just celebrated her 80th birthday, has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and is refusing chemotherapy. "I'm in good shape," says Callwood, "I've lived a long time."

Medium: Radio
Program: Sounds Like Canada
Broadcast Date: June 14, 2004
Guest(s): June Callwood
Host: Shelagh Rogers
Duration: 1:25

Did You know?

• Both June Callwood and her husband of 60 years, Trent Frayne, were diagnosed with cancer (2004).

• "Dying isn't the worst thing that can happen to you, losing a child is the worst thing and we've been through that," Callwood told CBC's Alison Smith. "Dying is nothing compared to losing a child."

• "I was very pleased to get cancer. I thought, 'Thank God, I'm finally out of here.' I was in Ottawa, jurying the Governor General's Awards for non-fiction, waiting in the hotel room for a call from my doctor. And when I got the news, I was so happy I danced around the room." -- June Callwood, June 26, 1994, the Globe and Mail

• A week before this interview, the Canadian Journalism Foundation presented June Callwood with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution as a writer and a social activist. Governor General Adrienne Clarkson toasted Callwood calling her a "general nuisance" for her tireless devotion to social justice.

• Callwood loved sports cars. For her 80th birthday, her family surprised her with a brand new Mazda Miata. She was also a licensed pilot and an avid swimmer.

• Callwood received countless honorary degrees and awards including the Order of Canada. Callwood was made a member in 1978, an officer in 1986 and a companion, the highest rank, in 2001.

• June Callwood died of cancer in Toronto on April 14, 2007. She was 82. 


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