Nfld. & Labrador

Fortis kicks in $500K for cancer care in N.L.

A MUN student and cancer patient spoke to a room filled with people at the Fortis Building on Friday, during a funding announcement from the company which will see $500,000 given to the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre and the Health Care Foundation.

'A cancer diagnosis at any age is terrifying,' says cancer patient now studying its psychosocial effects

Meghan Waterman shared the story of her cancer diagnosis and treatment on Friday, during a Fortis announcement of $500,000 toward cancer care in the province. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Meghan Waterman was just shy of her 20th birthday when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

"A cancer diagnosis at any age is terrifying. Although I didn't feel overly scared at first, as a young adult I felt cheated," Waterman said on Friday.

The MUN student spoke to a room filled with people at the Fortis Building in St. John's in the morning, during a funding announcement from the company which will see $500,000 split evenly between the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre for its In This Together campaign, and the Health Care Foundation for renovations and updates to 4 North A, a ward at the Health Sciences Centre to help patients and their families while undergoing acute care during hospitalization. 

Fortis CEO Barry Perry said $250,000 will provide substantial support for the cancer centre, which will see the construction of a new chemotherapy unit on the third floor of the new nuclear medicine centre adjacent to the existing cancer centre.

Waterman told reporters it was important for her to be there in person on Friday.

"As hard as it is to share everything, and vocalize all the thoughts you ever had in your head about, it's important for people to know what cancer patients go through," she said.

"It's important for people like me, a cancer patient, to express their story so people who are making very generous donations or supporting in any kind of way know first hand that we appreciate every single thing that they do."

Fortis CEO Barry Perry says cancer is something which affects everyone, directly or indirectly. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Waterman says her diagnosis was a wake-up call. It allowed for her to prioritize life goals and her mindset.

She says the entire ordeal, through treatment and beyond has helped her become a better person.

"My experience changed me for the better, and it's pushing me to strive for bigger and better things and to help out where I can and to just be a better person," she said.

Waterman is currently an honours student at Memorial University, studying a field which she has first-hand knowledge about — the psychosocial effects of cancer on patients and how the disease affects mental health on top of its physical health damages.

Today Waterman is still in treatment, but is optimistic after recent clear scans.

She says she's currently on the maintenance path, and is hoping by next January it'll all be behind her. 

"I'm just taking it treatment by treatment," she said.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cec Haire