LETTER – Many diseases and conditions could use the same attention as COVID

Dear Editor,

I read with heartfelt sorrow the letter from John and Judy Hedican regarding the death of their son, Ryan (Governments should address toxic drug supply crisis in the same manner as their response to COVID-19 crisis).

Having worked in SD71 and having had three children schooled here, our family members know of Ryan and his tragic circumstances.

The point raised in their letter regarding the money directed toward COVID and how little is designated to opiate addiction is absolutely accurate. Our family has had a torrid few years. Our youngest son is a type one diabetic. Our daughter has been battling cervical cancer for eight years. I had a brachytherapy operation for prostate cancer last year and my wife has just come out of hospital for the removal of part her colon due to early stage colon cancer. Tough yes, but we remain positive.

Stats Canada provides statistics about the tragic impact of diseases and when examining this information, a broader perspective may be helpful. In 2019, the leading cause of death in Canada was cancer, with a total of 79,084 fatalities. Heart disease claimed 51,396 lives and diabetes 41,500. Deaths linked to opiates was 12,800 over the last few years. To date, COVID-related fatalities in Canada total 5,679. These are facts, not models. They do not arise from a once-a-century pandemic. They occur every year.

This is not to disparage the present situation. The measures used to combat the spread of COVID are welcomed and they are a wake-up call for how we should be leading our lives. The first responders (our daughter is one), nurses, doctors and the store clerks have my utmost respect and appreciation. In my many visits to our hospital last fall for post-operation complications, the care I received was second to none. In fact, I was there so often I am surprised they have not named a wing after me.

What happens when a COVID vaccine is found? Will the billions of government-initiated dollars pumped into research to fight the pandemic then transfer to cancer, cardiovascular diabetes and opiate research? If previous practice is any indication, the answer appears to be clear. So, will the Cops for Cancer cyclists still need to raise money? Will the wonderful volunteers who go door-to-door basically begging for money return? Will governments continue to ignore medical advice and watch over 100,000 people die every year because their medical problems are not contagious?

In conclusion, if you can walk down a pediatric cancer ward and leave without crying you are stronger than my wife and I.

Phil Maund,

Courtenay, B.C.

Do you have an opinion you’d like to share? Email letters@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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