Now cancer-free, N.S. woman who made viral video declines meeting with premier
A Nova Scotia cancer patient who challenged the premier to meet with her is now cancer-free and has decided not to meet with him after all.
"The last four months have been almost like a rebirth of who I am, and just figuring out who I am now, post-cancer," Inez Rudderham said.
Rudderham posted a video on her Facebook page in April, daring Premier Stephen McNeil to tell her there is no health-care crisis in the province.
The video -- which has since been removed -- went viral, garnering more than 4,000 comments, more than 50,000 shares, and more than a million views.
In the video, the tearful 33-year-old mother said her anal cancer went undiagnosed for two years because she didn’t have access to a family doctor.
Rudderham said she went to three different ERs, but was brushed off each time. When she was finally diagnosed, she said her anal cancer had already reached stage 3.
“I dare you to take a meeting with me and explain to me and look into my eyes and tell me there is no health-care crisis in my province of Nova Scotia. I dare you,” she challenged the premier in the video.
McNeil agreed to meet with Rudderham, but she has declined his offer, saying she is now cancer-free and ready to get on with her life.
On Sunday, Rudderham gathered with friends in Falmouth, N.S., for a ceremonial burning of all of her cancer paperwork, and they did it up right.
"Let it burn," Rudderham says in a video of the ceremony. "Alright drop it in there. Say goodbye. Stand back."
Back in April, a day like this would have seemed unthinkable.
Everything seemed hopeless when she made the first video -- the one that went viral and changed her life.
"I definitely do not regret it at all," Rudderham said. "It's opened up a lot of space for myself, for my community. For Nova Scotians."
Her health is vastly improved and she says she has more energy and far fewer symptoms.
She has returned to the gym and is getting regular counselling.
The premier's people, she says, were compassionate and understanding, but a meeting is simply no longer on her agenda.
She says she doesn't need the pressure.
"Since moving out of my home and starting over, I've decided I have absolutely no desire to meet with him," Rudderham said.
McNeil issued a statement through David Jackson, a spokesperson in the premier's office.
“It’s wonderful to hear that Inez’s health has improved, and I respect her decision to focus on her daughter and herself," McNeil said.
"I know her video had an impact on many Nova Scotians, and it further strengthened our commitment to working hard to improve to the health-care system for all Nova Scotians. I wish Inez and her family all the best.”
Rudderham says she's eternally grateful to the hundreds of people who reached out during her cancer-fight. She says she'll now try to give back in other, more personal ways.
She says she wants to do what she can to help others receive the same news she received from her oncologist late last month.
"It came back with no signs of cancer," Rudderham says. "It's clear, so, no more remission -- I'm cancer free!"
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko.