N.S. cancer patient overwhelmed, grateful for support after video goes viral
A young Nova Scotia mother and cancer patient is feeling overwhelmed and grateful for the support she has received after a video she posted to social media went viral.
In the video, 33-year-old Inez Rudderham calls herself the "face of the health-care crisis in Nova Scotia" and challenges Premier Stephen McNeil to tell her otherwise. Her video has been viewed over a million times since it was posted last week and created a huge conversation in a province that has been plagued by problems in its health-care system, from a shortage of family doctors, to emergency room overcrowding and closures.
Her journey with cancer started over a year ago when she started experiencing hemorrhoid-like symptoms and exhaustion.
Rudderham didn't have a family doctor at that time, so she made several trips to the emergency room, but says she was sent home each time.
It was last May, while Rudderham was visiting an emergency room in Windsor, N.S., when a doctor immediately suspected something was seriously wrong.
“I didn’t react until I walked out of the hospital and I felt the sun on my face, and I just broke,” said Rudderham. “It was just this overwhelming rush of emotion, of validation, and fear and anger.”
Diagnosed with anal cancer, Rudderham required 31 rounds of radiation and two rounds of chemotherapy.
Unable to work, she and her former partner have to sell their home. The family has to be out of the home by May and is still unsure where they will live next.
Rudderham says her anger was triggered when the ‘sold’ sign went up in her yard.
“And in that moment, the rush of emotion just took over and I was angry,” she said.
Rudderham has documented her cancer battle through vlogging -- a form of blogging using videos -- since she was diagnosed. That’s where she posted an open letter to the premier about the state of Nova Scotia’s healthcare -- a video she still has a hard time re-watching.
“I thought about deleting it at around, 75,000 views, and now it’s at over 4 million,” said Rudderham. “I think, because I was embarrassed that it had been reaching the audience that it had.”
Premier Stephen McNeil did respond publicly to the viral video, and top officials say a face-to-face meeting is being planned for sometime in May.
In the meantime, Rudderham says she is overwhelmed by the support of strangers who have reached out online or approached her on the street.
She believes her cancer has become an unexpected gift.
“Human beings are incredible, and that you’re never truly alone,” said Rudderman as she held back tears. “That there’s always support out there and that even the smallest of individuals can make an impact.”
Rudderham believes she is in remission, and hopes to confirm this in the next couple of weeks. She has finished all of her medications, except for hormone therapy, which she’ll have to take for the rest of her life.
As for a family doctor, Rudderham does have one now, but she has to drive from Windsor to Halifax for appointments.
A GoFundMe page that was created for Rudderham to help with expenses had raised $21,000 by Monday evening.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko