May 19, 2011

CANADA: Marg Ahdemar fights cancer in Mexico

WILLIAMS LAKE, British Columbia / Williams Lake Tribune / Community / May 19, 2011

By Gaeil Farrar - Williams Lake Tribune

A special fundraising tea for Cariboo Friendship Centre executive director Marg Ahdemar takes place today, May 19. The donations are being collected to help Marg and her husband Barry with the cost of medical treatment that Marg is receiving at a clinic in Mexico, says her sister Verna Blinn.

A few weeks ago Marg was given six to 12 months to live by British Columbia doctors, but she is now responding well to the treatment she is receiving at the clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, says Blinn. “We didn’t expect something like this. It happened so fast,” Blinn says.

In December, she says Marg began feeling unusually tired and run down so she began a series of tests here and in Vancouver and Kamloops.

Marg Ahdemar has been executive director of the Cariboo Friendship Centre Society since 1992 and is now fighting cancer in Mexico.

She says doctors determined that Marg had blood clots on her lungs and a mass in her liver. But she says doctors in B.C. were not consistent in their diagnosis of whether Marg had cancer or some other rare condition, but she was eventually told that her condition was untreatable and terminal.

In Kamloops she says Marg was given a hospice number and told to go home and get her affairs in order. Unwilling to accept defeat, she says Barry and family members began checking out health food stores in Kamloops.

At one of the health food stores, she says they found a couple of sisters in their 90s who told them that their brother had been given a similar terminal diagnosis a few years ago, but was now back on his feet and doing well after receiving treatment in Mexico.

The sisters put them in touch with doctors at a clinic in San Diego, California who had arranged for their brother’s treatment in Mexico.

On April 16 Blinn says she accompanied Marg and Barry to San Diego and then to Tijuana, Mexico. Heading out, she says Marg was extremely ill but is now responding well to the treatments she is receiving.

She says Marg is being treated with a combination of chelation, vitamin supplements to strengthen her immune system which in turns allows her the strength to fight the liver cancer. Marg is also receiving chemotherapy on a weekly basis, daily insulin and a variety of other treatment modules, Blinn says.

Marg goes to the clinic from 8 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday.

“The doctors are available to come to the unit they are renting and in fact have come to provide medical assistance to her when the clot on her lung moved,” Blinn says.

"She is responding to the treatment that Canada would not provide her.”

Blinn spent the first two weeks with Marg and Barry in Mexico and says family members are taking turns going to Mexico to help them out and provide support.

She says the initial treatment will take about 13 weeks, with Marg returning home to Williams Lake in July with a home- care plan. She will then return to Mexico for assessment and treatment in October.

Marg worked with the drug and alcohol program for a number of years, helped to found and worked at the Nenqayni Treatment Centre, and has been involved with the Cariboo Friendship Centre Society for many years, serving as executive director since 1992.

Blinn says the BC Association of Friendship Centres and the Kamloops friendship centre are also hosting fundraisers for Marg’s treatment which is costing about $5,000 a week, plus the cost of accommodation.

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