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When the going gets tough; the tough find alternatives to keep going


The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that approximately one in two Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, with breast cancer being the primary case for women.
These statistics are all too familiar for Bobby Burgess and his young family.
Burgess, son of Swan River residents Robert and Sharon Burgess, graduated from the SVRSS in 2001, realizing his dream of become an RCMP officer in 2007. It was during his first placement in Alberta that he met his future wife Rebecca (Becky).
Five years ago, just before the couple’s first wedding anniversary, Becky was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation she was given a clean bill of health.
Two years after her diagnosis, against all odds, the couple was given some good news – they were pregnant. Their daughter was born in October 2014 and, not long after, they found out they were expecting once again. In March 2016, they added a son to their family.
Becky returned to her job as a paramedic, following maternity leave, early this spring. It was during this time that she hurt her back and was diagnosed with an injury to her discs.
As time went on, the injury did not heal and, following subsequent testing in August, they discovered the issue.
Becky was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer – the most advanced stage of breast cancer, spreading beyond the breast to other organs in the body. In Becky’s case, it was her spine and liver. Based on similar cases, she was give one to two years to live.
The Burgess’ refused to give up and started searching for treatment options outside of what Canadian medicine practices could provide.
So, earlier this month, they boarded a plane and headed down to San Diego, Calif. where they would make a daily trip across the Mexico border for treatment.
“Becky is undergoing a treatment at Dr. Castillo's Clinic in Tijuana, which uses a mixture of conventional, holistic and natural medicines,” said Bobby Burgess. “This also involves changing her diet to starve the cancer cells.”
“The treatment has been great so far. She was unable to walk when we arrived and is now able to stand and walk short distances, just after one week.”
“Speaking to many patients at the clinic, there seems to be a common theme of Canadian doctors telling people they have a time stamp, whether it be one week, one month, or year to live,” he continued. “Each and every person we have met here has far exceeded this or even beat cancer completely – some 13 years after being given one year or less.
“Our hope is this clinic can help Becky beat this terrible disease so we can share our story and petition the Canadian government with the stories of so many others to bring these treatments to Canada and help the hundreds of thousands of people that are affected by Cancer each year.”
The sort of out-of-country treatment Becky is receiving is not covered by provincial health care and could cost anywhere between $30-50,000 for care and accommodations alone.
To help the family, a GoFundMe page was setup to provide assistance. As of last Friday, just 19 days after its inception, nearly $68,000 was raised for the couple.
Bobby has taken two months off work to support his wife and his in-laws have brought their two children down to San Diego so that they can be together as a family through this difficult time.
“Becky is my rock and the toughest woman I know,” said Burgess, “She has beat this disease once before and I have no doubt she will do it again.
“The support we have had from friends, family and coworkers has been overwhelming and, to say the least, initially shocking that people have helped as much as they have.
“I think the support my wife and family have received speaks volumes about the type of people in our lives,” he continued.
“We are just focused on getting through these treatments and getting back home to a normal life as soon as possible.”
In addition to the GoFundMe page, an account has been setup at the Swan River RBC Royal Bank for Rebecca Burgess for those locally who would like to add their support.