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Whistler opens hearts and wallets to pay for cancer drug

Harvest HoeDown fundraiser brings out hundreds

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Patricia Stoop doesn't have to worry about paying for 11 cancer treatments now that she has about $40,000 in the bank.

That's enough for 33 weeks of treatments. And the financial security gives the Whistler mom a temporary reprieve in her ongoing fight to pay for new cancer medication.

"It just gives me some time to just focus on healing and beating the cancer instead of worrying about getting it funded," said Stoop, two days after her packed fundraiser at the Wildwood.

Close to 400 people flowed into Sunday's party, which stretched from the late afternoon into the evening. There was live music and entertainment, food and drinks and local children overtook the indoor tennis courts with face painting, a dress up photo booth and a musical cake walk, while adults bid on a silent auction and mingled.

"I felt really loved and really supported," said Stoop of the event.

The funds were boosted in particular by some sizable anonymous donations.

The fundraiser came on the heels of Stoop's oncologist appointment last week when she learned her cancer, which has metastasized from her breast to her liver, is shrinking.

"The combination of treatments I'm on is working very well," said Stoop.

The problem is that the drug that's working for her, Perjeta, is not covered through her extended health plan. Perjeta was approved by Health Canada in April. Stoop said it is currently up for review with the BC Cancer Agency. In the meantime, she needs to find $3,600 every three weeks for the drug, which is saving her life.

Of the outpouring of support this week, she said simply: "It hasn't really settled in yet."

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