Dr. Ivo Olivotto practiced saving our lives at the British Columbia Cancer Agency for thirty five years.
Over that time he
saw thousands of patients and I was one of them, in 1991.
I remember sitting in my one-size-fits-none paper gown in a chilly examination room waiting to hear my fate.
When I heard a knock on the door, Dr. Olivotto
asked if he
could come in.
What could I say - "No?
I wanted him to go away as much as I wanted him to come in but I had breast cancer and needed help.
23 years later I have come to appreciate the courage it took to knock on all those doors year after year and day after day.
Each time his
hand turned the door knob he
enormous expertise to treat cancers but he
could never know for sure if it would be enough to rescue the woman on the other side of the door.
has now moved on to other adventures in Calgary.
The Agency send off party gathered his
colleagues from around the province and Canada. Many were in tears as they testified to the powerful impact he
had on their lives professionally and personally.
I shamelessly begged to be allowed on the program.
is an important part of our history and I couldn't let the opportunity pass to thank him on behalf of the CBCF
, and patients.
Two decades ago the CBCF
in BC was a fledgling organization.
Our offices were in our kitchens and basements, we had little money and we organized ourselves with a few volunteers.
On this shaky foundation I boldly asked Dr. Olivotto if he would be our first Medical Advisor.
After I got the question out there was an extended silence and a long, hard Ivo stare.
said, "You aren't going away are you!
My knees were knocking and I could hardly believe my ears when
Over time Ivo
opened important doors for us.
We took merciless advantage of him by asking him to speak at our events.
arranged significant introductions for us and posed challenging and difficult questions as we evolved.
pitched in. At our first big fundraiser, The Run for the Cure, Ivo
signed people up and walked with his
mom whom he
volunteered as a volunteer.
I hope that every day when he
hangs up his
coat, Dr. Olivotto
reads the inscription and knows how much he
has been appreciated by so many.
From all of us who have been on the other side of those doors, a heartfelt thank you Ivo