Cancer patient sparks debate

(Update)Last week we told you about Kimm Fletcher, the brave Milton wife and mother who is dying of cancer and must pay for a drug not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan in the hopes of extending her life by some months. Kimm isn’t giving up in her fight to get OHIP to pay for the drug Avastin. Wednesday, she took her fight to Queen’s Park as Scot Urquhart explains.There aren’t many options left for Kimm Fletcher, and Wednesday it seems the Health Minister closed off one more: “The recommendation is that it not be funded for the treatment of this disease, on the basis that treatment has not been proven to improve survival Speaker.”Fletcher came to Queens Park hoping for help to fund the drug that costs roughly eight thousand dollars a month. Q: Lets say you don’t get coverage. How will you pay for this for the next year? Kimm: “Through the kindness of strangers and the hard work of all my friends and family, my community. That’s how i’m going to pay for it.”Fletcher has a stage four brain tumour. She also has two young children. She’s not looking for a cure. She’s just looking for a few more months: “Obviously, we’re going to continue ongoing. I can’t give up. This is my family. This is us.”However, Health Minister Deb Matthews says there’s not much she can do: “We have asked a lot in this legislature, that takes the politics out of drug funding. And it would be against the law for me to intervene in a particular case for a particular drug.”Although Health Canada has approved Avastin for treating stage four Gioblastoma, the Ontario committee to evaluate drugs, a government review panel has not. Matthews: “So I think the law is the right law. I think these decisions should be made by experts. I do not think these decisions should be made by politicians.”But Carlos Joseph, would disagree: “If it helps, why not? You know, let them enjoy their lives.”Carlos lives in the same city as Kimm. Has the same kind of tumour. Before he started Avastin four months ago: “Couldn’t speak, couldn’t do anything. Sitting down I might fall off the chair and stuff like that.”But after just a handful of treatments: “I find I can do more. Still get out there and enjoying myself.”Both Carlos and Kimm know that Avastin will not save their lives, but Carlos believes, compassion should manner: “Give us a chance to live. Don’t just write us off.”Avastin has already been approved for use in treating brain tumours in B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Both Carlos and Kimm are hoping, with a little bit of pressure from Ontario voters, it may soon be approved here, as well. Both Kimm and Carlos have Facebook pages that tell their stories. Also check our previous story on Kimm Fletcher for more information.refused OHIP coverage 00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09

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Cancer patient sparks debate