Manitoba

Cancer patient who sprayed foam into parking meter meets man who wants to help cover costs

A Winnipeg man who is battling cancer and protesting high parking fees at health-care centres, notably by vandalizing a parking meter with spray foam, has met a businessman who wants to help cover his costs.

'No one's ever really done something like this for me and my family,' says Collin Kennedy

Collin Kennedy was introduced on Monday afternoon to Michael John, who has offered to pay Kennedy's parking fees. John also wants to help Kennedy support his 17-year-old son, Bryce, in pursuing post-secondary studies. 0:54

A Winnipeg man who is battling cancer and protesting high parking fees at health-care centres, notably by vandalizing a parking meter with spray foam, has met a businessman who wants to help cover his costs.

Collin Kennedy was introduced on Monday afternoon to Michael John, who has offered to pay Kennedy's parking fees. John also wants to help Kennedy support his 17-year-old son, Bryce, in pursuing post-secondary studies.

Speaking to reporters as they sat down inside his home, Kennedy said he was very emotional when John contacted his mother to offer his support.

"I had to go to the bathroom because I couldn't stop crying, because no one's ever really done something like this for me and my family," said Kennedy.
Michael John, left, sits down with Collin Kennedy at Kennedy's home on Monday afternoon. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

"They always expected something and usually a lot more than I could have given, and/or taken more than I could have given," he added.

"This time, someone's giving and saying, 'We don't want you to know who we are, just we're happy that you're still here and you're doing something good for the world. Keep doing it. Here's an incentive to keep doing what you're doing.'"

Kennedy has had multiple myeloma — a form of leukemia — since 1999. On May 30, he vandalized a city-operated parking meter near the CancerCare Manitoba clinic, where he has had all his treatments.

He said he did it because he is fed up with the City of Winnipeg and Impark charging patients to park near the clinic and other treatment facilities around the Health Sciences Centre.

John, who works in auto financing and landscaping, said he had to use the same parking meters when his mother was ill and understands Kennedy's frustration. His mother passed away in July 2015 following a fight with cancer and other health problems.

John told Kennedy he paid for parking for 3½ years and one day, when he parked at a nearby Shoppers Drug Mart instead, he received a ticket for more than $100.

The Winnipeg Police Service asked Kennedy last week to refrain from vandalizing any more parking meters, but said he won't face charges.

On Monday, Kennedy said he received a warning citation from the City of Winnipeg for not paying for his parking at the treatment centre.

John also offered to help the Kennedy family with clothing and a vehicle for Bryce.

He said his mother had hoped he would work in the pharmacy field, so he really wants to help Kennedy's son — who wants to study pharmacology or material chemistry — with his future schooling for as long as he can.

With files from Katerina Georgieva