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BC Cancer Foundation donors help drive innovations in research, treatment, and tomorrow’s cures

As a retired logger who had suffered through several workplace accidents, including a crushed leg, Cliff Craig thought he had a high threshold for pain – until his cancer diagnosis in October 2017.

He had multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that left him in unbearable agony.

“The pain was like someone was eating at my bones,” Craig says. “I’ve never had pain like that.”

Cancer impacts one in two British Columbians. In 2022 alone, over 6,000 Vancouver Island residents will be diagnosed with cancer, with that number expected to increase significantly over the next ten years.

However, donors can help change outcomes by funding life-saving innovations at BC Cancer.

“The multiple myeloma had made my bones like Swiss cheese,” Craig says.

“I was on a variety of pain medications for quite a long time. I was taking hydromorphone. A high dose is 10 mg. I would have to take 160 mg a day. That didn’t even take my pain away.”

BC Cancer experts are amongst the top in the world in both cancer research and care.

Craig credits the team at BC Cancer for providing the world-class care he needed on his cancer journey to support him in his recovery.

Craig and his wife, Wendy, travelled from their home in Courtenay to Vancouver, where they stayed for seven weeks so Craig could undergo intensive treatment, including a stem cell transplant.

“The doctors and nurses give us so much. They pass all their strength along. They’re all angels in my mind for helping me stay on this earth. I think about them all the time,” Craig says.

“As much as this has been an unfortunate adventure, I learned a lot. We’ve been helped tremendously, particularly me, and we want to give back what we can to help others fight what they need to fight.”

Ending cancer is deeply personal for everyone.

The Craigs donate to the BC Cancer Foundation every year, but Craig’s experience with BC Cancer inspired him to include a gift to the foundation in his will. Donors like him contribute greatly to helping drive innovations in cancer care by funding life-saving research.

This research can take years of meticulous and diligent work. Supporting the foundation through planned giving provides necessary resources and reassures researchers that their studies will continue to receive funding for as long as it takes to find the next breakthrough.

“They helped so much. When you’re going through something like that, you need support, and the support we received was absolutely outstanding,” Craig says.

“We were very fortunate to meet the people we did and have the help of the doctors that we did. We have a fantastic health system in B.C. Without it, I would have been dead a long time ago. It’s near and dear to our hearts. The compassion that everyone has shown is totally amazing.”

The kindness of the doctors, nurses, and other BC Cancer staff helped Craig through the toughest times of his treatment, along with the support of his wife.

“My wife Wendy has been my number one supportive caregiver and number one angel,” Craig says. “Along with her three sisters, Kerry, Sue, and Shelley, my sister, Jodi, and her children, Sara and Josh, and my grandniece Elise. With their help, they helped Wendy and I get through the very tough time of it.”

Craig is now on maintenance drugs to keep his cancer at bay and has a new lease on life.

“Wendy and I have been having fun ever since,” Craig says. “I don’t have a whack of energy, but I’m happy to be alive. You start doing things differently than you did before.”

Leaving a gift to the BC Cancer Foundation in your will builds a legacy of impact that will drive tomorrow's cures and give people like Craig a fighting chance.

To learn more about planned giving with BC Cancer Foundation, contact Jordan McClymont at Jordan.McClymont@bccancer.bc.ca or visit www.bccancerfoundation.com/legacy.