Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Once again Michael is in the company of Dave. After a long bus trip they arrived late at the motel in Winnipeg. They have a short night.
"I wake up when somebody knocks on the door. “Room service! Do you need anything?” Yes, I think, I need to sleep. It is 10:16 AM and now I am wide-awake.
I get up and head for the shower. The reason this room looks so big is because it looks like they shrunk the bathroom. We both have to laugh, but it’s pretty sad.
After we get dressed we make plans to visit a hospital in Winnipeg. It is about a 13 km bike ride and we decide to have breakfast on the way over. It is busy on the road and after a while we spot a McDonald's. They have finished serving breakfast. I order a Caesar salad, but the Indian manager seems to be having a bad day. Even Dave is appalled by his behavior. Maybe it's because I didn't quite understand him. He has me waiting extra long for my salad and when I ask for extra sauce, he wants me to pay another dollar. So far people have not been very nice to us in Winnipeg. They have been a little rude. After our disappointing breakfast we continue on. First we arrive at an information center for breast cancer and we go inside. We explain that the purpose of our visit is to bring hope and inspiration to people with cancer. They seem receptive to that but point us to a building across the street. Here we find that people are less enthused and uncooperative. They suggest we visit Cancer Care Manitoba another 3 km away.
I treat Dave to a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons because it's his birthday. We happen to notice a CBC car in the drive through. I give the man one of my cards and ask if he is able connect us to the CBC. He promises that he will do his best. As we are enjoying our coffee, the man comes inside and asks us some more questions and gives us a direct number to the newsroom. Dave calls but it appears there is not enough time to do anything today: they say they will be in touch. We go to Cancer Care Manitoba. Initially they receive us enthusiastically, but then a security guard tells us we need to be at the fundraising department. It does not seem to be clear that my main intention is to visit with cancer patients, if they are willing, to share some words of inspiration and support and maybe give them a wristband. Again we explain our purpose and story and the lady disappears into another office to inquire. I can't hear her but Dave can. Apparently she is saying that “a couple of guys with a website are looking for publicity”. The overly friendly lady wants to take a picture of us to share with her manager and then they can decide what they can do for us.
First they lead us to the hall in front of the Cancer Care Manitoba logo, but then they decide it would be better if the bike was in the picture as well. So we go outside. She takes our picture and then says: “You'll be hearing from us goodbye!”
It seems that in a very subtle way we've just been kicked out of the hospital. I can't believe it! There we are! Inside that building are people who are being treated with chemotherapy. It's as if they can't understand that from the goodness of our heart we want to come in and inspire people. People here seem so focused on themselves and they keep thinking that I just want to become famous or want media attention. It's tough and it is sad at same time.
On our way back Dave and I continue discussing today’s events. Once back at the motel I write my blog. I have to go to the motel office to see if they can send it because the Internet connectivity in our room is really bad. For dinner we have pizza and pasta at an all-you-can-eat buffet. We eat quite a lot and then we return to the motel. Unfortunatly, there are no messages from the media and also Samantha from White River has not responded to my emails. So I start to write today’s blog. It feels like a day with a bit of a hangover.
Today it became clear to me why I am on this mission. If Canada still hasn't understood the message of its hero Terry Fox, then not much is changed. Terry didn't run just to raise money for research. His drive came from the fact that he saw people suffer and he didn't want anyone to suffer. Pills, chemo and radiation alone don't make people better. It is the empathy and support of others and the power of our own body and mind that are so important in healing. We need to show genuine support for cancer and sarcoidosis patients; understanding and sincere empathy. I guess I am disappointed that things are not going the way I would like to."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen