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We All Need Our Mothers

We All Need Our Mothers

 Do you hear that?

             That is the sound of me ringing the Belleville General Hospital’s Victory Bell. Today, May 3rd, was my last round of chemotherapy.  

      It’s been a long road. This was my 18th chemo treatment. Before that, there were numerous appointments, tests, and operations. And of course, there was the diagnosis. Multiple kinds of cancer – ovarian, uterine and a rare type of endometrial cancer, that was beginning to spread to my bladder and bowels.

      Can you imagine how it felt, as a single mother of two teenagers, to get this kind of news?

      I was so scared that I was going to die. I thought my kids might have to grow up without a mom.

      But today is a day to celebrate! Today, I’m ringing the Victory Bell, the honour every cancer patient at Belleville General Hospital has when they complete their long journey with cancer treatment.  I know I’m not the first woman to ring this bell, and I know I won’t be the last, but today I feel incredibly proud and relieved to be here.  And I couldn’t have done it without your generous support of Belleville General Hospital Foundation.

     When you donate to BGHF, you stand beside women like me in their battles with cancer. Every gift you give goes towards making our hospital the amazing place it is today. Your gift touched me through every part of my journey with cancer – from diagnostic equipment right down to the comfortable chairs and warm blankets I used when receiving chemotherapy.

     This is a day to celebrate – not just for me, but for all women who have beat cancer. And it’s also a day to look forward. Because as my treatment ends, another woman’s journey with cancer is just beginning.  And you can help that woman get her chance to ring the Victory Bell someday by making a donation to Belleville General Hospital Foundation today.

     Your donation helped me beat cancer. Your donation gave my kids their mom back!

      Right now, Belleville General Hospital needs your help to purchase new diagnostic equipment – including Diagnostic Imaging Reporting and Digital Mammography work stations.

      While the Mammography work station is specifically for diagnosing breast cancer, these other pieces of equipment are used for diagnosing absolutely anything – from different kinds of cancer, aneurisms, even ensuring pregnant moms and their babies are safe and healthy. They are literally the eyes of almost any work being done at the hospital, and are used at least 10 hours a day. Without them, doctors could not diagnose or successfully treat patients.

     They say ovarian cancer is the silent killer. Without machines like these, I never could have been diagnosed.

     But you have the opportunity to make a donation that will ensure others like me can receive the diagnosis and care they need, when they need it, so they may have their own chance to ring the Victory Bell.

      Today, I ring this bell for me. I ring it for my two kids. For my family, my friends, and my community, who were my strength through this entire battle. I ring it for every woman who is afraid of what lies ahead. For every patient who is afraid of the diagnosis. Afraid of what the future might hold. Afraid that their children will have to grow up without a mother. Afraid of dying. And I ring it for you, too.

     I’m heading home now to celebrate. My family and friends will all be there. We even made our own Victory Bells and we’ll ring them all together.  Because we’re all in this together.

     Thank you for your generosity, and for helping me let freedom ring – for me, for my kids, and for all courageous women who are battling cancer!

 Yours in good health,

 Bonnie Thomson Smithrim

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