On August 22, 2011 Canada lost one of its outstanding citizens to a plague that is sweeping this country. Jack Layton died of cancer at a young age and to the family I offer my belated condolence. Jack was a person who tried to make this country a better place to live in and will be greatly missed by all who knew or heard of him.
The media broke the news with the statement saddened and shocked.
Saddened, yes. Shocked, no.
My only sister Gwen passed away with cancer 15 years ago and since that time I have had many friends who have succumbed to this dreaded disease. This past year I got treated for prostate cancer, although I have been home less than a month, I have attended the funerals of three close friends who died of cancer.
When Jack Layton was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2010 it made national news.
In July of this year when Mr. Layton stepped away from his job for a while to fight cancer that had returned it made national news, August 22 when Mr. Layton died it certainly made national news, and so it should, but on August 22 there were approximately another two hundred (200) people who died of cancer in Canada and not one mention of these people.
Although I have never met Mr. Layton, we did have two things in common, Mr. Layton was diagnosed with prostate cancer in Feb of 2010, and one year later I was diagnosed with the same cancer in February of 2011. The other is that we both have strived to make this country a better place for our children but Mr. Layton certainly did much better than I did and for that I will always have respect for him and be thankful. By the time you read this letter he will have passed on into history.
While he will be remembered for a lot of things by many types of people, the thing that I and I believe the majority of people will always remember, that he was a young man who was struck down in the highlight of his life by the dreaded plague called cancer.
I am making a plea to all Canadians, let’s not forget how Mr. Layton died and in his own letter just before his death, he urged others affected with disease not to give up hope. It’s hard for people like me to have hope when I have lost a lot of family and friends to cancer, going through it myself and have a lot of friends still fighting for their life. Statistics released this summer say 500 people a day are being diagnosed with cancer in Canada and that 200 a day will die. That’s (73,000) seventy three thousand a year. In other words, if you get cancer you have approximately 62 per cent chance of survival, not a good average, hence the reason I was not shocked when Mr. Layton died.
Now is a good time to make sure that Jack Layton did not die in vain and that his name will be used in a much needed inquiry or a royal commission into what is causing all this cancer. I truly believe that a lot of these cancers are caused by cancer causing chemicals that we are putting in to our foods, our water and our environment and a lot of people are getting rich while a lot of us are dying unnecessary. As they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
To all the New Democrat MPs, this is your chance to make sure you do Mr. Layton proud by making sure all MPs in Canada are on side with this inquiry into the cause of cancer and more effort is put into finding cures, so that some day we will be able to control this terrible plague like we have done with a lot of others in the past.
My dad died at age 40 of tuberculosis in 1940, my stepdad of one year died of cancer in 1946, while we did wipe out the dreadful tuberculosis and other diseases, we have not done very well with cancer. In fact I would wager it has increased tenfold.
It will be too late for a lot of us but maybe Jack Layton’s children and grandchildren and my children and grandchildren can have some hope of a better life in the future.
From the time of Mr. Layton’s death until his funeral, cancer has been in the news every day; let’s make sure that it is talked about until we can reverse the dangers of this dreadful plague upon our people.
(Retired) Capt Wilfred Bartlett