Cape Breton cancer patient reaches out to Alex Trebek for support
A Maritime cancer patient is reaching out to an iconic game show host to see if she can get a boost with her fundraising efforts.
Brenda McCarthy – a former nurse for more than 30 years – was recently diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer. It's the second diagnosis since 2017.
"It was one of the hardest days I've lived through, I think," said McCarthy. "I didn't want to tell my children. I didn't want to tell my husband. We were all on a high, thinking that the cancer was gone."
Not only did McCarthy's cancer return, she also learned it metastasized to her liver.
"I'm still quite hopeful that with chemotherapy, I can get, you know, still some positive years out of this," said McCarthy.
After beating the disease the first time, McCarthy decided to fundraise to try and bring a treatment called stereotactic body radiation therapy to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. She says it's a treatment that could have benefited her had it been available.
Despite her second diagnosis, McCarthy's fundraising efforts aren't slowing down anytime soon.
"She could easily sit back and say, 'I don't want to do anything but focus on myself right now,' and instead, she's focusing on every other cancer patient in Cape Breton who could use this service," said Mark Inglis, with Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation. "It says that she is the utmost incredible person."
When McCarthy found out jeopardy game host, Alex Trebek, had been diagnosed with the same disease, she wrote him a letter to let him know he isn't alone.
"It's always nice to reach out to someone who's been through the journey," said McCarthy. "And just touch base and share stories. So, my thought was just that."
While McCarthy is just one of hundreds of fans trying to contact Trebek on a daily basis, her family says a response from him would give her spirits the boost they need as she fights this disease.
"I think it would absolutely lift Brenda's spirits in this really difficult time," said Inglis. "I'm thinking it would give her something to be excited about, and it would help her fundraising efforts."
McCarthy is planning a gala fundraiser event for November in North Sydney, N.S., and she hopes somehow, Trebek can get involved.
"And we were thinking it would be nice if he could even maybe send a little video to the gala. Just to say, 'I've had stage four; this is where I am in my journey,'" said McCarthy.
Trebek recently publicly announced that his cancer is nearing remission. Such news brings hope to McCarthy and her charitable efforts.
"If I can give back to one person what I received from the community, I didn't have to go away for any treatment. I was able to stay home, here with my family and friends," said McCarthy.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald