While a final tally of Sunday’s Harvest Hoedown Fundraiser for Whistlerite Patricia Stoop has yet to be finalized, it appears the outpouring of community support will push the sum to the $30,000 mark.
At press time, event organizer Rachel Lythe said donations were still coming in.
Roughly 350 people piled into the Wildwood Café Sunday (Sept. 29) in support Stoop who’s fighting a metastatic cancer in her liver. Because the drug she requires is not covered by her extended medical plan, friends and community members packed into the café for a silent auction fundraiser to help with the expense — $3,600 every three weeks.
The family-friendly event brought in a number of attractions, including a cakewalk, a photo booth, face painting and numerous musical acts. In addition to the all-volunteer performances, roughly 40 additional volunteers helped set up and execute the evening.
“It was amazing,” Stoop said. “There was enough love in the room to cure my cancer, but, yes, I will be able to stay on the treatment, because I can stay on the treatment now.”
Stoop’s story began in 2011 when at the age of 40 the mother of two was diagnosed with an aggressive form of advanced HER-2 breast cancer. After three months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy of both breasts, Stoop was in full remission. She and her family, husband Jeff and children Lucas and Sabrina, celebrated with a trip to Hawaii. But upon their return a regular checkup revealed the cancer had returned, only this time it was in her liver and was much more severe.
That’s when Patricia’s oncologist started her on a chemotherapy regime involving a new drug called Perjeta. Stoop was only the second person in Canada to receive the treatment, following its approval by Health Canada in April. Since she started taking the drug, her tumors have shrunk by 60 per cent, while her tumor markers and liver function tests returned to normal after two rounds of chemotherapy.
However, despite Health Canada’s approval of the drug, it has yet to earn the approval of BC PharmaCare.
Friends the community rallied around Stoops with the Harvest Hoedown fundraiser to bridge the expense.
While the province is negotiating a cheaper cost for Perjeta from its manufacturer, it could take one to two years for the full process to reach completion and find approval for use in the province. Stoop is now advocating for reform.
“We need to streamline that process,” Stoop said. “This has become my mission — to get the process of approval streamlined so everyone with metastatic cancer has timely and affordable access to the new medications.”