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Springdale doctor and team helping with financial burden of cancer care

Dr. Todd Young and his team at the Main Street Medical Clinic have established a cancer care fund.
Dr. Todd Young and his team at the Main Street Medical Clinic have established a cancer care fund.

SPRINGDALE, NL — The mental burden of fighting cancer is trying enough, but the people of rural Newfoundland and Labrador have the added stresses of financial strain.

It is something the team at the Main Street Medical Clinic in Springdale has identified as a problem area, according to Dr. Todd Young. They are also doing something about it.

The Cancer Care Support Fund is being established for the people of Green Bay and Green Bay South to assist with the costs of travel associated with cancer health care.

“To be responsive to the needs of the community, the nurses at the clinic are hearing — with the increases in prices of gas and the impacts of inflation in general — people are finding it really tough when they have to go out of town for cancer treatment,” Young said.

As owner of the clinic, he says answering the needs of the community is a priority. While health care is one obvious solution, as a medical professional he believes it goes beyond the traditional doctor/patient relationship.

People from the area often have to travel to health care facilities in places like Grand Falls-Windsor for chemotherapy or extended stays in St. John’s for radiation, chemotherapy and/or surgery.

While government does provide some assistance, Young says it does not benefit all.

“We wanted to come up with a way to augment what is already there,” he said.

Easing the financial burden — whether it is with the donation of gas cards or some similar method — allows a patient to focus more on their health and treatment.

Young said there was one patient in particular he thinks of when considering the benefits of such a fund. This patient — who has since died — postponed travelling for cancer treatment. He didn’t know it at the time, he said, but that decision was made because of a lack of money.

“(The patient) had no family in (St. John’s) and had no family to help out,” he said. “That feeling of loneliness, vulnerability, wasn’t just because of cancer. It was because of the financial part as well.”

The nurses at the clinic will manage the fund, said Young. Money raised will go 100 per cent into the fund and to patients in need.

“I think this is a socially responsible initiative that targets the needs of some of our most vulnerable people at a difficult time in their lives,” he said.

Young has had a controversial tenure as a doctor, having been suspended for having relationships with female patients. Just recently a Supreme Court Judge upheld Central Health's decision not to grant him privileges in its hospitals and long-term care facilities. Under his direction, the Main Street Medical Clinic has been very active in the community.

The Highwaymen

The fund will start growing as a result of the first fundraiser April 30. The Highwaymen tribute band — featuring Bob MacDonald, Craig Young, Glen Simmons and Steve Power — will play at the Indian River Lecture Theatre in Springdale.

The Main Street Medical Clinic is sponsoring the band’s costs, so the entire proceeds of the event go into the fund.

Tickets are available at the clinic or at Lawtons and the Main Street Pharmacy starting Monday.

***Updated 04/03/2017***

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