Hats off to Air North

Eleven months ago my wife was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a non-curable cancer of the lining of the lung.

Eleven months ago my wife was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a non-curable cancer of the lining of the lung.

The Yukon government’s Health department covered (almost) every flight in and out of Vancouver. She had to go there nine times thus far. The health department also paid the subsidy of $75 per day for most days she was there. By the way, this daily rate was set in 1992 and has not changed since. We all know this does not nearly cover the costs of expensive Vancouver hotels, but okay, it is better than nothing, I guess.

My wife had chemo treatments and also tried to find other potential treatments to improve her life prognosis and/or her quality of life.

Chemo, radiation and surgery are no longer an option at this point.

She read about a clinical trial underway in Edmonton, for mesothelioma and pursued that. Recently she found out she has been accepted to participate.

The Yukon government health department had indicated that if she would be accepted, they would not provide any financial support or subsidy. Their policy simply is: we do not cover clinical trials. My wife wrote a letter to the health minister asking again to reconsider and provide a subsidy and she received a polite letter in the mail two weeks later declining her request.

We were told by the oncologist in Edmonton, who did not understand YG’s standpoint, that the Alberta government gets $7 million per year from drug companies to run clinical trials.

Do Yukoners not get any financial assistance if such trials might be beneficial for patients, or even if it might give a patient some hope, since there are some positive results from this trial?

All the Yukon government would have to assist with is travel and accommodation. The drug company, via the Alberta government in this case, will pay for the medical team, the hospital, the tests and the drug itself.

We were in disbelief.

Then someone told us: maybe we should contact Air North to see if they might be willing to help out with some of the cost.

My wife picked up the phone and Adam from Air North mentioned he had to talk to his superiors first. He would phone us back. He did within one hour and provided my wife with a great discount for all flights she would need to get to Edmonton, after which she broke into tears.

Thank you, Adam and thank you, Air North.

Lloyd Payne and Carla Mangnus,