Above photo: Taking time to recognize the impact of the Powell River Oncology Unit were (l to r): Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Unit Clerk; Stephen Burns GPO (GP Oncology); Janet White RN; and Sneeta Takhar, internal medicine and clinic head.
Powell River staff, physicians and former unit staff and physicians gathered today at the Powell River Oncology Unit, taking time to celebrate the impact the unit has had on the lives of thousands of patients who've received care in their home community since the Unit opened in February 1997.
As someone who has been a part of the unit since it was founded, RN Janet White has seen the many vital connections made inside the doors of the clinic.
“There's a real camaraderie that develops with our folks when they're able to receive their treatment here in Powell River," she says. “From neighbours supporting each other with rides or meals, to people becoming new lifelong friends, the unit has long been a key gathering point for our residents being treated for cancer."
Retired physician Dr. Blake Hoffert was one of the key players in helping establish the long partnership with the BC Cancer Agency in the late 1990s, retiring last fall to pursue other passions like sailing. When he first began working in Powell River, limited chemotherapy treatment was delivered in a small eight-foot by six-foot room inside the hospital's emergency department.
The unit has come a long way since then, largely due to the successful collaboration between VCH and the BC Cancer Agency. The ability of the two organizations to work closely together has allowed staff to offer consults prior to/after diagnosis, treatment planning, intravenous chemotherapy and biotherapy, oral chemotherapy and hormonal therapy as well as follow up appointments throughout treatment and post therapy.
Janet adds, “This kind of support just wouldn't happen if we didn't have the unit here in Powell River. It's been a real boon to the health and longevity of our residents."