$75K campaign to hold government to promises for Kamloops cancer clinic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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$75K campaign to hold government to promises for Kamloops cancer clinic

An advocacy campaign for a Kamloops cancer clinic launched this week.

The Thompson Regional Hospital District is paying $75,000 for the campaign, aiming to keep pressure on the provincial government after years of cancer care promises.

“Our region has experienced nearly 30 years of missed deadlines made by this and previous governments,” board char Mike O'Reilly said in a news release.

READ MORE: 'We're not a priority': Province mum on promised Kamloops cancer centre

The campaign, called "Cancer Won't Wait," is a "result of frustration and disappointment" with promises to build the cancer centre, according to the Jan. 31 news release.

“We had no choice but to launch this campaign to remain top of mind with the government and try to accelerate the construction timeline, because Cancer Won’t Wait," O'Reilly said in the news release.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the project is on schedule earlier this month after he promised in May that a business plan would be finished before the end of the year. The plan hasn't been made available publicly.

Under the NDP government, previous Premier John Horgan promised it would be built within his term while campaigning in Kamloops for the 2020 election.

READ MORE: Almost half of BC residents would vote NDP in next election: poll

During his stop in Kamloops in May, Dix said it's part of the province's 10-year plan. Other new cancer clinics and renovations to existing ones are also within that plan, but it's not clear where Kamloops falls on the priority list.

Patients who need radiation treatment in Kamloops and the surrounding region currently go to Kelowna instead. The Cancer Won't Wait news release suggests 40% of those Kelowna patients are in the Thompson, Cariboo or Shuswap regions and would visit the Kamloops location if it was built.

“As someone who lives in the region and has had four separate cancer diagnoses, I have first-hand experience waiting for and wanting cancer care to be closer to home,” Clearwater mayor Merlin Blackwell said in the release. "I am encouraged by the launch of this campaign because Cancer Won’t Wait for our health system to play catch up and address these problems. We know getting shovels in the ground quickly in Kamloops will help patients who need it the most.”

Go here for more information on the Cancer Won't Wait campaign.

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